"I could have gone there and made the appointment myself!"

About: Devon Access and Referral Team (DART)

(as the patient),

I went to see my GP and was told I was going to be referred to hospital. I thought my GP would sort this but a week later I get a letter asking me to Phone DART. In my eyes this is a week wasted.

I then rang this service and they ask which hospital I want to use. There is one right up the road from me so of course I would want to use that one. I could have gone there and made the appointment myself!

I would like to know who is paying for this service; does it come out of the GP budget. We never get asked about how we want to spend our tax contributions.

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

Dear ‘wild412’,

Thank you for taking the time to feed back to us about your experience of the service we offer; we do appreciate it. I’m sorry that you have not found it to be a useful service.

The initial letter you received with our phone number on it would have been sent to you from your GP surgery. The surgeries are given three days to type up your GP’s referral letter and put it on the system and if they are waiting for test results before referring, this can add a few days to the process as well. However, if you feel this is not likely to be the case with your referral, please reply to this post with the name of your surgery and I’ll pass your comments along to them.

One of DARTs main aims is to provide patients with a choice of hospital to receive treatment at, which is why you were asked to call us to make the appointment. Many patients are willing to travel further than their local hospital if there is a quicker appointment available elsewhere or may choose to travel to a hospital near to family or friends.

As to the cost of the service, we are employees of NHS Devon and our costs do not come out of the GP budget. However, the service is GP-led, so local GPs are very much involved in deciding the value of the service and how it should be run.

I hope that this has gone some way to answering your queries – please do feel free to contact us again as we try to use all feedback to improve our service for future patients.

Kind regards,


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