"I felt the DART staff were rude and the process very long winded"

About: Devon Access and Referral Team (DART)

(as the patient),

I had an ENT appointment which due to a recent family bereavement and my son being ill I missed, I realised 2 days afterwards and phoned DART. I explained my situation but they said there was nothing they could do and I would have to back to my doctors and go through the hold referral process again.

I thought this was a ridicules waste of my time and my GP’s time, I was on the system I don’t understand why it should need another referral that says the same thing. I then received another letter from DART and called again.

From the start I felt the lady I spoke to was rude and sarcastic and not very sympathetic to my situation, I believe from this conversation that the referral should have been faxed across from the GP’s as this was a “paper referral” and DART will now have to send it on. At no point was I told any of this and I feel that has also contributed to the general confusion..

I now have no idea when or how I will be contacted by DART or even how much time I should let elapse without hearing anything before for making further enquires. I have found this whole process very frustrating and I fail to see how this can of any value at all.

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Response from Gemma Smith, Project Support Manager, DART, NHS Devon

Dear ‘dartfrustration’,

Thank you for taking the time to contact us and let us know about your experience of using the DART service. I am very sorry that you felt frustrated by the process; this is not the service we want to deliver and value your feedback to help us to improve our service.

Firstly I would like to apologise for the experience you encountered when trying to rearrange your appointment, this is not the type of experience we aim to provide for patients and are very sorry you were not supported better.

At DART the normal process for patients wishing to change, re-book or cancel appointments is carried out by the booking staff who will liaise with the hospital or your GP to get things back on track for you. If an appointment date has passed the referral needs to be reinstated on the Choose and Book system by the referring GP, once this has been done an appointment can be offered. Unfortunately in your case this did not happen and you should not have been advised to return to your GP.

Your story has highlighted a training need and all staff members have been updated to ensure protocol is followed and we support patients through their care as best as we can. I can only apologise for the confusion this has created for you.

To enable us to understand more about why this happened, I would really benefit from speaking with you to understand some more details. I would also like to make sure you now have an appointment. If you are happy to please contact me at 01626 883712, my working hours are on Monday to Friday from 9am until 5pm daily.

I do hope we can resolve this and get it right in the future.

Best Wishes

Gemma Tremlett

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Response from Gemma Smith, Project Support Manager, DART, NHS Devon

Dear ‘dartfrustration’,

Thank you for contacting me directly, it was really beneficial to understand what happened to you a little bit better. After speaking with you and investigating a little further I discovered you referral was still in hand with your chosen hospitals ENT department.

I have spoken with colleagues in the ENT team and asked for a member of the team to contact you directly to ensure your new appointment is suitable for you. If you do not hear anything in the next 7 days please let me know and I will get back in contact with the team.

I wish you all the best for the remainder of your care.

Kind Regards

Gemma Tremlett

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