"trying to get through to the referal service"

About: Devon Referral Support Services

(as the patient),

I have been trying to get through to the devon referal service for 3 weeks now but still cant get through. Very disappointed and fed up as not been able to get the treatment I need.

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Response from Rachael Burridge, Head of Operations and Reporting, DRSS, NEW Devon CCG

Dear ‘bonez’,

Thank you for taking the time to feed back your experience, and apologies for the frustration the situation is causing you.

As you are aware due to ongoing issues with the national NHS e-Referral System, formerly Choose and Book, the Devon Referral Support Services (DRSS) is currently unable to book your appointment in the normal way.

The NHS e-Referral System is currently running slower than usual which means it is taking longer to handle each booking.

We have not yet been informed by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), which provides the new software, when the system will be running again normally.

We completely understand your frustrations about the length of time this situation has been ongoing, and please be assured that we, as a health community, are working very closely with the national HSCIC team to improve things as soon as possible. In the meantime the following arrangements have been put in place locally to ensure that your referral isn’t delayed during this period:

• Referrals are being reviewed in the normal way and DRSS, or your local hospital, will be in contact with you regarding your appointment as soon as possible.

• People who need a rapid referral, such as those patients with suspected cancer, will continue to be seen within two weeks.

We have updated our phone message this morning to reflect the current booking process (the section highlighted in bold above) and this now includes a link to the DRSS helpdesk number (01626 883 888). Although the helpdesk can’t book appointments they will be able to answer other queries relating to referrals.

If you haven’t already heard from either DRSS or the hospital about your appointment and you would like me to look into your referral to see at what stage it’s at perhaps you could call me on 07971 149 644 or email me at rachael.burridge@nhs.net so we can get some more details.

Apologies once again for the frustration this situation is causing.

All the best

Rachael Burridge

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Response from Peter Brain, Volunteer, Healthwatch Devon

Dear 'bonez'

The comments and responses on the web-site of Patient Opinion are shared with us at Healthwatch.

Thank you for responding through Patient Opinion to what was clearly a frustrating experience. Please take up the offer of a phone call. The system is erratic and acknowledged to be unsatisfactory but I hope you eventually get the treatment and that is is OK. At Healthwatch we are building a picture of the provision of services in Devon and these comments should help the NHS and other providers develop and improve their services.

If you wish to discuss any health or social care issues with us in confidence, including seeking advice or information about services, please call 0800 520 0640, or email info@healthwatchdevon.co.uk or go on-line to www.healthwatchdevon.co.uk.

Yours sincerely

Peter Brain


Healthwatch Devon is the consumer champion for Health and Social Care in Devon.

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