"Devon Referral Support Service"

About: Devon Access and Referral Team (DART)

(as the patient),

Exactly the same as the previous story. I rang the referral service after receiving a letter from my GP which told me that an appointment date and time would be offered to me by them. I was given a choice of hospitals and chose the Royal Devon and Exeter. I was then told that a consultant would write to me with an appointment date and time. No explanation given. I rang my GP surgery and the doctor's secretary told me that this is how it is done and has been for years.

I fail to see how this can be a cost efficient service. It would take seconds in the GP surgery to ask which hospital is convenient and then refer the patient to the appropriate department in that hospital. Or give the patient a unique booking reference in the surgery and ask the patient to contact the hospital to make their own appointment. The letter consisted of 3 pages of A4 paper, an envelope and postage. Then the cost of a whole team of people answering the phones at DRSS. And all the time, the patient waits another week before getting an appointment because the letter says that you have to wait three working days before you can ring.

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››


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

Dear ‘A patient patient’

Thank you very much for taking the time to share your feedback with us, it is very useful for us to know how patients feel about our service.

Regrettably, on some occasions DRSS is unable to offer some appointments for the following reasons;

• There are instances where some clinics require referral information to be triaged by their medical team, who would then send an appointment date out directly.

• In some cases the chosen provider doesn’t have any available appointments at the time of booking. However, all details would have been placed on the clinic waiting list for an appointment to be sent out once new appointment slots are scheduled.

Following feedback from our patients I am pleased to be able to tell you that we are currently revising our processes with the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital so that more patients will be able to book their appointments in the initial contact with DRSS. I realise that this doesn’t help you but I wanted to let you know that we are working on the problem so that future patients won’t have to go through the same thing.

I would also like to reassure you that your referral will not have been delayed by phoning DRSS.

I hope that this response has been useful to you. If you would like to discuss the matter and provide us with your Unique Booking reference Number we can look into this further for you. Please feel free to respond on Patient Opinion or to phone me directly on 01626 883712 – I work 9-5, Monday to Friday.

Kind Regards

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful

Updates, changes and questions related to this story