"Where is my appointment?"

About: Devon Access and Referral Team (DART)

(as a relative),

Having had my 8 month old son referred to a peadiatrician, I have just waited a week to be given a telephone number to get an appointment. On ringing this number, it appears that this just gets me on the the Royal Devon & Exeter waiting list and I now need to wait a week - 10 days for them to decide when and where my appointment will be. The appointment will probably then be a few weeks after that. Why wasn't I put on the RD&E waiting list when I was first referred rather than having to go through this system (DART - Devon Access and Referral Team) which is supposed to make things quicker and more efficient but which has actually just delayed things for my son by a week or more?

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Response from Susan Pearce, Project Support Manager, DART (Devon Access & Referral Team), NHS Devon

Dear CatherineM,

Please accept my apologies for the delay in my response.

Our team is here to offer patients a choice of hospitals to be treated at and to answer any questions they may have to help them make that decision. For example, we can compare waiting times at different hospitals if a patient simply wants to go to the quickest available appointment. Once a patient has chosen a hospital we should be able to book them an appointment over the phone, there and then. However, as unfortunately happened in your case, some services can become congested due to a large number of referrals, all of the appointments get booked and we have no choice but to forward the patient’s details on to that hospital so that they can book the patient an appointment as soon as more become available. Sometimes this involves the hospital organising an extra clinic to accommodate the waiting patients. This is not how the system is supposed to work and we realise that it is very frustrating for patients. We keep in constant touch with the local hospitals regarding this issue and we are doing all we can to help them resolve it.

Please be assured that your son’s care won’t have been delayed as a result of this problem. A record is kept of when each patient starts waiting to be seen/treated and each patient is seen in turn. Patients must be seen within target times regardless of whether the initial appointment was booked with us or later with the hospital.

I hope this information is of use to you and I would like to thank you for taking the time to let us know about your experience of using DART. Please accept my apologies for the inconvenience of the way the system worked in your case, it is not how we would like things to work and we are trying to get the process running more smoothly.

Kind regards,


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