"Some patients will just not bother to call back"

About: Devon Access and Referral Team (DART)

(as a carer),

I am a carer for my husband and we have received details from the Devon Access and Referral team (DART) on how we make an appointment for my husband to see a consultant.

There is just too much information to read and to process. I am 73 years old and i am fully able to understand all the information. But why so much paperwork? What a waste of time and money.

Why do we need a list of so many numbers, and then they are always engaged. I called twice and on both occaisions had to be kept on hold for 5 minutes so I gave up.

When i did eventually get through, I was told that there were no appointments in August and to call back again. This is a terrible service. Some patients will just not bother to call back.

i want a date when my husband will be able to see a consultant. Is that too much to ask>

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

Dear ‘Manatee926’

Thank you for taking the time to contact us with your concerns, we welcome all feedback from patients and carers as it all helps us to try to build a better service.

I agree that we give a lot of information out on the leaflets that patients receive with our number and I’m sorry that it makes the process a bit more tedious. The reason we give out so much extra information is in response to patient’s frequently asked questions and problems in the past. We give out information about DART and the booking process in the leaflet so that patients can read it in their own time and then call us when they are ready to book an appointment.

Regarding the list of numbers that you were given, I have to admit that I’m a bit confused. You should only have been given a choice of two numbers to call (one begins 0845 and the other 01 so that you can choose which will be cheaper for you to use) to make the appointment and one number for our helpdesk in case of problems. If that is not the case then please accept our apologies.

I am very concerned that you have been asked to call us back, as this is most definitely not how our process is set up. It does unfortunately happen that some of the busier clinics run out of available appointments but, when that happens, it is up to the hospital in question to contact you when an appointment becomes available; it is not up to the patient or carer to chase this. I would feel much better if you were able to call our helpdesk on 01626 883888 and get them to check your husband’s details and make sure that he is on a waiting list for an appointment. Many patients do this so please don’t feel that you are giving up your anonymity by phoning – there is no reason for them to connect your call with this message. Having said that, if you are willing, I would be very grateful if you would call the helpdesk and ask to speak to me as I would like to look into the matter of you being asked to phone back and I would need some more details from you before I could do that. If you would rather not, I completely understand.

Best wishes,


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