"Calling the DRSS is stressful for me"

About: Devon Referral Support Services

(as the patient),

I’ve just received a letter asking me to ring and make an appointment but the language in the letter is making me feel like I want to give up. It has too many acronyms and makes things more complicated than it needs to be.

There was a time when, if you needed an appointment, all you had to do was to ring up and make one. This letter says I have to ring DRSS, that I may be held in a queue for some time. I have a mental health issue and telephoning is a part of that – if I’m kept waiting for more than two minutes I end the call and that’s the end of it. Especially if I’m having to pay, it makes me want to switch off.

This method of doing this is stressful for me and I’m sure it will be stressful to other people too, especially the elderly or people like me with mental health issues. It could make a person’s condition worse.

I’m just too upset and angry about the letter I’ve received.

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Response from Devon Referral Support Services

Dear Label411,

I am so sorry that you have been caused such distress by trying to use our service. We want to make things as straightforward as possible for patients but we have to cover a lot of possible situations with one leaflet so it’s not easy.

I am also very sorry that our service is only available by phone. We are looking into other options but with the patient confidentiality rules it is proving very difficult.

To try and solve your problem, I have a few suggestions and I really hope that one of these will work for you:

1. Please phone my direct line on 01626 883702 and give me your phone number. I will then get the team to phone you back so that you don’t have to wait in a queue. I work Monday-Wednesday 8 until 4. Outside of these hours you can leave a message with your name, phone number and when is convenient for us to call.

2. You can go to your GP surgery and ask them to call us for you. They can make the call and relay the information or pass the phone to you when they get through.

3. You can go to your GP surgery and ask them to contact us with your name and phone number and we will phone you back.

4. You can go to your GP surgery and ask them to contact us and tell us to just book you the next available appointment at your nearest hospital. We would then post the details to you.

Our booking team works Monday to Friday, 8 until 5 so they can call you back any time within those hours that suits you.

If none of the above are realistic please contact us again through Patient Opinion and I will try to think of another solution. Please accept my apologies for any distress you have been caused.

Best wishes,

Susan Pearce

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Response from Devon Referral Support Services

Dear Label411,

I haven’t heard from you and so I am hoping that you have been able to book an appointment already but I can’t be sure.

If you haven’t and you are not happy with any of the options that I mentioned before, please can I urge you to go and see your GP again and explain the problem? I’m sure that s/he will be able to help you find a solution that works for you.

I would hate to think that you were missing your appointment because of the booking service in place and I’m sure that your GP feels the same.

Best wishes for your future care,


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