"They couldn't offer an appointment"

About: Devon Access and Referral Team (DART)

(as a relative),

Phoned to book an appointment with an orthopeadic clinic told that they'd have to call me back as they had to send the referral letter off for clarification told they may phone later that day or in a weeks time. They did call back later that day but was told they couldn't offer an appointment. Wasn't given a choice of hospital or anything but was just told they couldn't offer an appointment as none available. I think is was totally unsatisfactory and a complete waste of my time.

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

Dear ‘vellma’,

Thank you for taking the time to post your comments about our service, we find the feedback received from patients to be invaluable in helping us to improve the experience for future patients. I am sorry that you feel that DART wasn’t very useful in your case and that your time was wasted by having to phone us.

Without being able to look at your particular details I can only make an educated guess as to what happened while we were dealing with your referral but I’ll offer the most likely explanation.

Particularly for spinal orthopaedic referrals there are set pathways that we have to abide by in different areas of the county, meaning that, at certain times and depending on the individual circumstances, we are unable to offer a choice of hospital to patients. These pathways have been developed to make the best clinical use of the services available locally, as spinal clinics can be quite limited, which is also likely to be the reason that we couldn’t offer you an appointment slot over the phone.

We do offer patients as much choice, in location and date/time, as we are able to offer but busy clinics can become filled from time to time and so we have no choice but to pass the patients details on to the hospital in question who will contact the patient as soon as more appointment slots become available.

If you would like me to investigate your circumstances in particular and give you a more definite explanation, I would be happy to do so – please contact me on 01626 883888. If you would rather not, I understand and hope that my above explanation goes some way to answering your concerns.

Thank you again for your feedback and I wish you well for the remainder of your care.

Best wishes,


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