"Trying to get an appointment via DART"

About: Devon Access and Referral Team (DART)

(as the patient),

I received a letter to contact DART re an appointment.

This I did, and was told we do not make appointments here for that speciality, but I will put you through to someone who does.

I was put through and was told we do not make appointments here for that speciality, but I will forward your details to the relevant consultant and you will receive an appointment. I said how long before I get the appointment and was told it could take a month.

What a waste of time! Is this process put into action so that I am on the system within the guideline period? or is it just a case of employing people and giving them something to do.

Surely if nobody in either office can give me an appointment, the doctor might just as well contact the consultant direct, or is that common sense?

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Response from Gemma Smith, Project Support Manager - Devon Referral Support Services, Devon Access & Referral Team (DART)

Dear ‘Chimaera’,

Thank you for sharing your comments about the DART team, I can only apologise that when you called the team did not have an appointments to offer for the hospital or clinic you chose to go to. The DART team is here to offer patients a choice of time and place for their treatment, wherever possible, and to provide information that patients may require before they make their choice.

Without knowing a few more details about your referral it is hard to say what happened here however it sounds as though the hospital you chose to go to did not have any appointments available to book which has led to your details being sent to a consultant. There are some clinical reasons why a clinician would need to review a referral before an appointment can be offered.

For some referrals, it is more appropriate for your referral to be reviewed by a consultant prior to offering you an appointment. This is so the hospital can arrange for any additional diagnostic tests to be requested before you see a consultant, and at the stage of your first outpatient appointment the consultant will have any results ready to discuss with you. In these circumstances, we pass all the details to the hospital but are not able to book an appointment for the patient. We understand that this is not ideal but in the past patients have booked appointments only to have them re-arranged to accommodate any tests that are needed. To avoid causing patients the inconvenience of having to make additional arrangements, or change appointments unnecessarily, some hospitals find it better to contact patients directly.

I hope this goes in some way to answer your queries, but I would like to opportunity to look into this further to understand what happened a bit better.

If you would contact me on 01626 883712 or cab.helpdesk@nhs.net I can look into this further.

Kind regards

Gemma Tremlett

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