"Long delay for diagnosis and correct medication"

About: Devon Access and Referral Team (DART) Newton Abbot Community Hospital / Rheumatology

(as the patient),

I started a new job 6 weeks ago it is long hours and physically quite demanding. I noticed I could not keep up with the younger chefs in our kitchen. I am 53. I was tired the following day and my joints ached.

I spoke to my manager and he said he would support where he could. I made an appointment with my local GP. He suggested ibuprofen and prescribed tablets to keep my stomach settled. He then contacted DART to get them to contact me regarding an appointment with the Rheumatology dept.

I have today contacted them regarding an appointment and have been told that it will be early March. This is an issue because my new post (for which I am still in my trial period) is demanding and I do not feel I can continue for a two month period without correct diagnosis and appropriate medication.

Is there any alternative because I do not feel able to cope in my new role without the correct medication?

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Response from Gemma Smith, Project Support Manager - Devon Referral Support Services, Devon Access & Referral Team (DART)

Dear ‘Rolcoldot’,

Thank you for your feedback and I’m sorry that your appointment is taking longer than you hoped.

Your GP referral is made under a clinical priority and the DART team are able to offer the available appointments held by your chosen hospital. Our local hospitals are constantly working to uphold the 18 week patient pathway from referral to treatment. I would like to reassure you that your GP is available to help you with any ongoing concerns relating to your health and referral whilst you are waiting for your appointment.

If you would like a sooner appointment you are free to contact the hospital department or DART to enquire about appointment cancellations, however I cannot guarantee the availability of one.

I hope the remainder of your care goes well.

Best wishes

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