"Referral for appointment"

About: Devon Access and Referral Team (DART)

(as the patient),

Saw GP who said he would refer me back to hospital specialist I have seen before. Got letter from the Access and Referral team to ring them to make an appointment, which I duly rang, though difficult to do in working hours. When I rang was told that as my doctor had specifically asked that I see this consultant they would now send the GP letter to the consultant who would assess the letter and see if I needed an appointment with him and would give me an appointment direct in the next few weeks. Irritating that I had to go through the hassle (and time and expense) of ringing the DART team for them just to have to refer the letter on.

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Response from Suzanna Morris, Project Support Manager, NHS Devon

Dear ‘Angua123’

Thank you for your feedback on your experience you have had when booking your appointment.

From the information you have given me, it sounds like your GP has referred you through to a service which is set up at our local hospitals as a Clinical Assessment Service. This is to enable a consultant to review your referral letter and decide if it is more appropriate for you to go to the hospital for a test/procedure or to see the consultant in an Outpatient setting. As you have mentioned in your feedback that you have previously seen the consultant, your letter would have been booked into their service to enable them to review your referral.

I apologise that you felt ringing DART was an inconvenience and I understand why, when the referral is to a specific consultant this may not be necessary. DART supports 600 GP’s, across 91 different practices in Devon and around ten thousand referrals are made every month. In order to organise this in a way that is efficient for GP’s and patients we have to standardise the way referrals are handled to some extent as it would be very difficult for GP’s to remember if there were different processes depending on the circumstances. This has the benefit of making the process quicker and cheaper to administer while giving the majority of patients the option to choose a hospital or consultant.

May I apologise again that you felt that this process was not beneficial to you when booking your appointment.

Kind Regards,


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