"I think GPs should arrange appointments"

About: Devon Access and Referral Team (DART)

(as the patient),

I received a letter Dart on Friday asking me to ring them, which I did that day. The person on the phone confirmed the Hospital (Ottery Saint Mary) and the consultant. They then told me they had no appointments available and that if I haven't heard back from them in 4 weeks, I should call back and they would "chase" this up for me. After the phone call I emailed my GP to complain about the service. On Monday, my GP’s secretary called to tell me they had arranged an appointment for me at the Exeter Hospital in December. The NHS are always complaining about budget cuts, so why are employing Dart? I think appointments should be left to the GP's to sort out. I feel this incident has wasted my time and taken up resources.

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

Dear ‘Kettle403’,

Thank you for contacting us regarding your experience of DART, we do appreciate patients taking the time to feed back to us and we try to use all information received to improve our service.

Part of DARTs job is to offer patients a choice of hospital to go to and provide information such as waiting times in order to help the patient make the decision. Unfortunately, sometimes the appointments available to us online become booked up and we have no choice but to add the patient to a waiting list at their chosen hospital, if they would rather wait there than go somewhere else. The service at Ottery St Mary is likely to be quite a small one and so I suspect this is what may have happened in your case.

Once it became apparent that there were no appointments available at Ottery, we should have checked with you that you wanted to wait there rather than choose another hospital, such as the RD&E, but I cannot tell from what you’ve said if this happened in your case. If you were offered this option we could have booked the appointment at the RD&E for you on the phone. If this didn’t happen then I sincerely apologise.

I hope this helps to answer your question, please do not hesitate to contact me if you wish to discuss this further.

Kind regards,


01626 883888

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