"Devon Access & Referral Team - a waste of time & money?"

About: Devon Access and Referral Team (DART)

(as the patient),

For the 2nd time in 4 months, I have been frustrated by DART - my experience is it's just another hurdle to getting a hospital appointment.

The 1st time, it took the intervention of my GP Practice Manager to establish that there was an appropriate clinic at the locally, with appointments available, rather than a lengthy wait for a slot at Exeter, so I am most grateful to the Practice Manager for her help.

This time, I saw my GP Monday morning, 20th September; he quickly decided that I needed to see a specialist urgently.

Today, Saturday 25th, my instructions to contact DART arrived by 2nd Class mail, so I can't do anything until Monday, if I can get through on the phone, that is. This in spite of the `URGENT' endorsement.

In my view, DART raises expectations which it cannot fulfil.

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

Dear ‘Eileen’,

Thank you for taking the time to contact us, we have found the feedback we receive to be incredibly helpful in improving our service. I’m sorry that you have not had good experiences of dealing with DART.

Without more details it is difficult for me to comment on your initial problem with finding a local service. I imagine that the problem was to do with the clinic you wanted not being available on the booking system we use, Choose & Book. Most services are listed on the system so that we can offer them when patients phone in but a few still are not. If the service is not on Choose & Book then our booking team wouldn’t have known it existed and so couldn’t have offered it to you as an option. NHS Devon is working on getting as many clinics as possible on the system in order for as full a range as possible to be available to patients.

With regard to the instructions to call us for your more recent referral, these will have been sent to you from your GP surgery, not DART. If you would like me to contact your surgery to discuss them sending this information out to patients more quickly then please either reply to this post with the name of your GP surgery or phone me on 01626 883888.

Kind regards,


If you would like to talk to someone at DART about any remaining issues with your referral please feel free to contact our Patient Helpline on 01626 883888.

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