"Booking an appointment through DART"

About: Devon Access and Referral Team (DART)

(as the patient),

I received a letter from my GP informing me to contact the DART team in Newton Abbot to arrange an appointment only to be told that the person to whom I spoke with had to refer the appointment onto the Torquay Hospital (my chosen place to have the appointment) so that they would need to send a letter out in the post to me in a couple of weeks time which will most likely need to be amended as I wish to have this appointment either at the beginning, or at the end of a day due to work commitments.

This obviously goes against the operation objective in enabling patients to access treatment as quickly and efficiently as possible.

I find this frankly quite appalling as I now have to wait far longer than the doctor inferred and when considering the instant communications available today’s modern age (ie emails and telephones) which can speed up the process considerably, feel that my 'story' has wasted NHS resources by having to send out a letter (from the GP) and then another letter (which will be from the Hospital) all because DART could not arrange an appointment.

I would very much like to hear an update on what will be done about this booking.

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

Dear ‘Davidus’,

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.

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.

In some hospital departments, it is more appropriate for your referral to be reviewed by a consultant prior to offering you an appointment, or in some cases there may not be appointments available for DART to book. In these circumstances, we pass all the details to the hospital who will contact you directly.

With regards to receiving letters rather than e-communications, we are bound by confidentiality policies which state that we cannot initiate an email conversation with a patient regarding their healthcare, so instead we contact you by letter or phone call. It may be useful to know that the majority of hospital departments can upon request send appointment reminders via text or email and you will be offered this wherever possible.

Your referral will have been passed onto Torbay Hospital who will be in touch as soon as possible. If you would like us look into this further, please contact our helpdesk on 01626 883888 or cab.helpdesk@nhs.net.

Kind regards

Gemma Tremlett

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