"Disappointing experience with DART"

About: Devon Access and Referral Team (DART)

(as the patient),

I have had a disappointing experience with DART which has left me in limbo.

Following an appointment with my doctor between Christmas and New Year I received a referral letter from my GP in late December advising me to call DART to make the appointment. I called them on when an appointment was made for me in Axmister in February.

Two days later I received a letter from DART stating the appointment had been cancelled but no explanation why or what I should do next to make a further appointment. When I queried this I was still not volunteered any information – I had to ask what I should do. I was advised to phone a secretary, in Exeter, after two weeks if I had not heard anything by then. I was not offered the relevant phone number; I had to look this up myself.

When I did not hear anything further I called the other secretary. They have no knowledge about me and suggested I ask my GP to fax his referral letter to them so that they could look into the matter for me.

At this moment in time I’m not sure when I’ll be seen to treat my medical condition.

I spoke to the original secretary just to check whether they were aware of the original appointment. After some investigation they were able to tell me that I had been incorrectly referred to the consultant and that I had been referred to the Royal Devon and Exeter hospital who should have my details. I called the RD&E, specifically the clinic to which I had been referred – they could not find any record of me. However, they remembered that there are different referral systems and by searching under a different referral they were able to find my details. I am now expecting to hear from the hospital in the next two days to either confirm my appointment or to start the process again.

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

Dear Spiller965

Thank you very much for taking the time to share your feedback with us, I am sorry about the lack of information you have received regarding your referral.

The DART team is here to offer patients a choice of time and place for their treatment, wherever possible, and to provide information that patients may require before they make their choice.

Without knowing a few more details about your referral it is hard to say what happened here, however with regards to the letter of cancellation you received, it does not sound as if it came from DART. The referral service normally does not cancel appointments for patients unless requested by the patient themselves. If the hospital or clinician cancels a patient appointment this is dealt with by their internal booking team and any correspondence would ordinarily be sent from them.

I would really like to investigate what has happened and make sure your referral has now been processed and you have an appointment. If you are happy to, please contact me on my direct number 01626 883 712, I work from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.

Kind regards,

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