"booking through dart"

About: Devon Access and Referral Team (DART)

(as the patient),

I feel this service is a total waste of time and money ...after being referred there by my Doctor ... then having to wait three days to ring them to be told "|I will contact the hospital to arrange your appointment they will write to you with an appointment".

Whatever happened to the old way where the doctor wrote to the hospital and the hospital then made the appointment directly. No wonder the health service is in such a sad and sorry state

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

Dear 'Mechs',

Thank for you for taking the time to tell us about your experience of using the DART service, I can only apologise that in this instance your experience was not a positive one.

Once your GP has decided to refer you for a consultant opinion, your GP sends you the information inviting you to contact the DART Team. Your GP is given 3 days to attach all the relevant information about your referral, this is to make sure when you ring all the information is there to send to the hosptial.

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. The service has been designed, and is overseen by, local GPs who feel that this service is the best way for patients to make their appointments. At DART we are able to offer appointments to patients based on the referral letter information given by the GP.

In some hospital departments, 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’d like to reassure you that, even though you feel this process is a waste of time, I can assure you your care will not have been delayed in any way. The date on which patients start waiting for their appointment is recorded and appointments are all seen ‘in turn’.

I would really like the chance to look into this further, as without some more information from you I am unable to identify the true reasons behind what has happened. If you are willing, I would be grateful if you could give me a call with your details. My phone number is 01626 883712 and I work Monday to Friday, 9 until 5.

Kind Regards

Gemma Tremlett

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