"Appointment handled by DART"

About: Devon Access and Referral Team (DART) North Devon District Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as the patient),

The appointment made for me by DART with a practitioner in the N. Devon District Hospital Orthopaedic team was changed to a later day and a different practitioner, just a day and a half before I was due to be seen. This was because the practitioner "did not deal with feet" - the reason for my original referral!

I fail to understand why such a simple mistake was made. My need was clear, my referral was clear "problem with feet", so why send me to someone who doesn't deal with feet? The person who phoned was clearly embarrassed and very apologetic, so no gripes with that.

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

Dear ‘archer’,

Thank you for taking the time to let us know about your experience, feedback like this is invaluable to us in highlighting issues for patients and we do our best to use it to improve the service for future users.

I am very sorry that you had such an unsatisfactory experience. All of the patients who opt to go to North Devon District Hospital for an orthopaedic appointment are triaged by a clinical specialist at North Devon who advises us which clinic to use for each patient. North Devon have advised that the likely explanation in your case is that you were booked into a ‘lower limb’ clinic, which would obviously encompass feet, but that the actual appointment slot you were given was allocated to a clinician who specialises more in knees or hips and so you were swapped to an appointment with someone whose specialty is feet. I’m afraid we can offer no explanation as to why you weren’t advised of the change sooner. I have passed your comment on to the triage service at North Devon and we are investigating the possibility of changing the process for lower limb referrals to aid future patients.

Please accept my apologies, on behalf of both DART and North Devon, for the inconvenience this has caused you and I hope that the remainder of your care goes a lot more smoothly. Also, thank you again for drawing our attention to this issue, we will endeavour to learn from this mistake to try and avoid it happening again.

Kind regards,


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