"Getting a specialist appointment"

About: Devon Referral Support Services

(as the patient),

I went to see my GP who said she would refer me to a specialist. 3 weeks later I get a letter in the post Devon Referral Support Services, with a password. I called the number and then was told I have 4 options of places to go. Everyone of them the most inconvenient and remotest place (not easily accessed either.) I chose the one option that was most convenient to be told that the next possible appointment is July.

This is the most ridiculous and incovenient system I have ever heard of. At NO time was I informed that I would have to wait 3 weeks for a letter to then speak to someone who has no clue to be then told I will now received another letter telling me when I have an appointment.

I pay my NI for this service which is ridiculous! !

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Response from Devon Referral Support Services

Dear ‘Gossy’,

Thank you for your feedback regarding our service, we do appreciate it and try to use all information received to improve our service for future users.

I’m afraid that I cannot explain why it took 3 weeks for you to receive a letter with your referral details as this is sent to you from your GP surgery, not DRSS. I know that in some cases it is because they are waiting on test results or other information which they need to include in their referral but I obviously can’t tell if this is the case for you. If you would like to let me know which GP surgery you are registered with, I will be happy to pass your comments on to them.

I’m sorry that you are unhappy with the range of services available to you. We offer as much choice as we can and always include those hospitals nearest to you, providing they are clinically appropriate.

Most clinics put all their appointments online for us to access and if we were unable to offer you a date over the phone it is likely to be because the service has become very busy and all available appointments are booked up. This is usually the reason that patients have to wait for an appointment through the post. I can only apologise for the inconvenience and assure you that the hospitals in the area all work hard to avoid this situation whenever they can.

I am sorry that this all adds up to a very frustrating experience for you, please be assured that we are constantly working to improve the situation and that our aim is to provide a seamless and useful service.

Best wishes for the remainder of your care.

Susan Pearce

01626 883702

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Response from Peter Brain, Volunteer, Healthwatch Devon

Dear 'Gossy'

The comments and responses on the web-site of Patient Opinion are shared with us at Healthwatch.

This experience you describe was frustrating to say the least.

I hope you will accept the offer from the provider to discuss what went wrong and that you will try to discuss it within your own practice, Maybe there is a 'patient participation group' in your practice;ask at reception. And do not hesitate to contact Healthwatch (see below) if you are willing to share more details.

More generally we are building a picture of the provision of services in Devon and these comments will help the NHS and other providers develop and improve their services.

If you wish to discuss any health or social care issues with us in confidence, including seeking advice or information about services, please call 0800 520 0640, or email info@healthwatchdevon.co.uk or go on-line to www.healthwatchdevon.co.uk.

Yours sincerely

Peter Brain


Healthwatch Devon is the consumer champion for Health and Social Care in Devon.

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