"DART does not Offer appointment for Cardio"

About: Devon Access and Referral Team (DART)

(as the patient),

After seeing my doctor earlier this week, I was told an appointment would be made within 4day. I waited 4 days and nothing happened. I then got a letter this morning telling me to call the Devon access referral team (DART) to arrange for an appointment which I did, only to be told that I cannot have an appointment because DART does not deal with appoints for cardiology.

My question is, Why did I have to go through DART if they did not deal with appointments for cardiology.

Is NHS Devon not aware that DART does not deal with Cardio appointments?

You will think that the hospital will automatically pass your details on to the appointment team once you are told that you need an appointment. I rang my doctor back to enquire about my suppose appointment and i was told to 14days before any information can be sent through to me. If the Dart system is to make booking appointments quicker and efficient, then why has it delayed my appointment?

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

Dear ‘Wild403’,

Thank you for contacting us regarding your experience of using DART.

The system currently in place at some of our local hospitals for Cardiology patients dictates that we can’t view and book their appointments, as we do for most other specialities. Because there are a number of diagnostic tests that may be required before you meet with a consultant, and these vary from case to case, the hospitals ask that they book the appointments and can therefore arrange the timings so that your results are available when you first meet with the specialist. This is currently how it works at both the RD&E and Torbay hospitals. They ask for 14 days so that the consultant can read your referral letter and they can set up the relevant diagnostics appointments as described above.

However, this system is not in place at all hospitals and so the reason patients are asked to phone DART is so that they can be offered a choice of hospitals to be seen at. If you had chosen to be seen at Taunton or North Devon (or another hospital perhaps outside of the immediate area), we would have been able to offer you a choice of appointments while you were on the phone. It is up to the individual hospitals how they set up their booking systems and is not something we can influence. The hospitals do recognise that it can be frustrating to have to wait 14 days to hear but, when letting the appointments be booked by us, have found in the past that they had to change a number of appointments after they had been made and it was felt that this was more frustrating for the patient.

I can assure you that, while this does delay how quickly you find out your appointment details, it will not have delayed your appointment as records are kept of when each referral is initiated and patients are seen ‘in order’.

I hope that this has answered your queries but do feel free to post again if you have any further concerns. If you would like us to check on your referral, please phone our patient helpline on 01626 883888 and we will be happy to look into it for you.

Kind regards,


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