"Confusing appointment setting process"

About: Devon Access and Referral Team (DART) Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital (Wonford) / Breast surgery

(as the patient),

My GP informed me that I need a lump investigated urgently under the two week cancer wait referrral process.

I received a letter from the NHS Appointsments Line entitled "Choose and Book" informing me that I had chosen an appointment on a certain day & certain time at my local hospital, the Royal Devon and Exeter. The appointment clashed with a trip with friends for which I had a hotel and train booked.

The letter implied choice was available so I rang the NHS Apponitments Line number to ask if there was an alternative. They said my GP practice would need to contact them to do so. The GP practice tried but were unable to do so and advised me to contact the hospital direct. I contacted the admin staff at the breast care unit who advised me to contact the breast care nurses - who didn't return my call.

I decided that this was being too difficult so got back to the NHS Appointments Line staff and informed them I would take the appointment offered. Rearranged hotel and train.

Received an additional letter from hospital with details of the appointment.

Received a letter from the RD&E to say appointment was cancelled and moved forward two weeks and well outside of the two week wait intention.

Rang the RD&E to discuss and appointment was rearranged to be inside the 2 week wait. Rearranged train and hotel again.

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Response from Suzanna Morris, Project Support Manager, NHS Devon

Dear ‘worriedofexeter’

Many thanks for your feedback, I apologise that you had this amount of problems when booking your appointment.

From the information you have given me, I can advise you that normal practice when being referred as a two week wait is to book this appointment in your Doctors Surgery, this is so patients get seen in the required two week time frame if patients are not available in this two week window there is a process within the practice that they should refer you when you are able to attend the hospital. In your case this could have then fitted around your prior arrangements.

Please feel free to contact me on the patient helpdesk on 01626 883888 or by replying to this, I can then obtain more information such as your GP so that I can contact them to discuss your experience.

Kind Regards,


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