"How long should i wait ?"

About: Devon Access and Referral Team (DART)

(as the patient),

Trying to get through to DART all morning, is there a waiting time to get through? as it appears to hold the line like it is.

I have been all around the world and used various healthcare systems however I think England is the worst!

There is a lack of communication and charging patients to ring these numbers is beyond silly!

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Responses

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

Dear ‘Chip174’,

I am sorry to hear that you are not happy with the service that DART offer and I would like to apologise that you have not been able to get through to us straightaway. We do everything we can to ensure that calls are answered as quickly as possible as we realise that it is frustrating to be put on hold or to have to phone back multiple times.

Our phone line has been set up to let patients know where they are in the queue to try and keep people on hold as informed as possible so that they can decide if they wish to continue holding or not. There is certainly no set waiting time in place – if a member of staff is free to take the call, the call will go straight through.

With regard to charging patients for these calls, the NHS in Devon cannot afford to offer free phone calls to all patients – our team receives approximately 5,000 calls in an average week. We offer an 01626 number so that as many people as possible can use their ‘free’ calls through mobile networks and also an 0845 number which is charged at local rate from most landlines, no matter where in the county they are calling from.

We genuinely want to help patients as much as we can and we have in place the best processes that we can come up with, using the resources available to us. That is why we use services such as Patient Opinion - to try and get as much information as possible about how patients feel about our service and maybe even some ideas about how to improve it so thank for you very much for your feedback, it all helps us to understand more about the people we are trying to help.

I hope that this has gone some way to answering your query. If you still need to speak to someone regarding your appointment, please leave a message and we will get back to you as soon as possible or try our Helpdesk on 01626 883888.

Best wishes,

Susan Pearce

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