"Useless new appointments system"
About: Devon Access and Referral Team (DART) Devon Access and Referral Team (DART) Exeter EX1 1PQ
Posted by Frances-Clare (as ),
Useless new appointments system
Last week my GP referred me for investigations for both my knee and my elbow. A letter arrived very quickly from DART - Devon Access and Referral Team - giving me an 0845 number to ring to book an appointment. I didn't know whether this was for my knee or my elbow. And as this was a non-geographic telephone code it meant I was paying for my call in addition to my contract.
It took more than six minutes for the female on the other end of the 'phone to book me an appointment for my knee; this I find almost unbelievable with a computerised system.
Cut to this morning when a letter arrived saying an appointment had been booked at the hospital for me. I presumed it was for my elbow - again it didn't say - and rang the hospital's central appointment booking service direct, as it was the same date and time as my knee appointment. I spoke to an incredibly helpful woman called Nell, who, after 'phoning my GP surgery, said that the new appointment was for my knee. She even found out what had happened to my elbow referral.
I think DART is a real waste of money; why didn't the money go direct to the hospital's booking service along with the fifty staff DART employs? The DART staff seem under-trained and you end up 'phoning the hospital in any case to find out what is going on. So I think a waste of my time and theirs. In my opinion, as the NHS rarely actually sacks anyone when their services are no longer required - they are merely given some other meaningless task to do, or "redeployed" in NHS-speak – I think this will be an ongoing extra layer of non-frontline NHS staff acting as a barrier between the patient and the service they are trying to access.
In a sentence, I believe DART doesn't seem to know its knee from its elbow...