"Trying to get treatment"

About: Devon Referral Support Services

(as the patient),

Having a small very worrying lump that is growing my first hurdle was getting past the GP referral system- that took over a week after my own GP confirmed a hospital appt. was needed but then surgery meeting decided I could wait 8 weeks.

Now I can't actually get through to the Devon Referral Support Services - this is the second day where all I get is a answerphone message telling me the system isn't working and an update will be available next day. So on day 3 I may or may not be able to actually call them. There is no alternative contact, no email, fax, address - nothing.

If I don't get through and get this sorted Thursday at the latest I will have no choice but to find out if I have enough savings to go private - and very public. I've watched two family members suffer with CA, I don't intend sitting back worrying about this day after day and night after night.

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Response from Rachael Burridge, Head of Operations and Reporting, DRSS, NEW Devon CCG

Dear ‘Mrsangry’,

Thank you for your feedback and apologies for the concern this situation is causing you.

Firstly, please be assured that your referral won’t be affected by the current system issues. We will continue to update the messages on our phone lines at 10am and 4pm each day with the latest information we have.

If you would like us to contact you as soon as the system becomes available please call me on 07971 149 644 or email me on rachael.burridge@nhs.net with your contact details.

As you are aware we have been experiencing some issues with the national NHS e-Referral Service that was launched on Monday to replace the NHS Choose and Book system. This is the system we use locally to book hospital appointments.

We have been notified that the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), which provides the new software, is doing everything possible nationally to resolve the IT problems. While they do this the Devon Referral Support Services is unable to book routine appointments locally. However, we are working closely with our local hospitals to agree how best to manage the situation if the national system is not back up and running shortly so patients aren’t further delayed in getting their appointments and contingency arrangements are in place for very urgent referrals.

Because of the nature of the issue no alternative means of contacting us are available.

Once again apologies for the concern this situation is causing you, please be assured we are doing everything we can both locally and nationally to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.

Best wishes,

Rachael Burridge

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Update posted by Mrsangry (the patient)

Thank you for contacting me and I will email you Rachel but I don't see how my referral is not affected when I am prevented from progressing it further indefinitely. It's almost a week today.

Apologies don't help with laying awake at night worrying do they? Let's hope it's just a boring uneventful cyst not something nasty

Response from Peter Brain, Volunteer, Healthwatch Devon

Dear 'mrsangry'

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

Thank you for responding through Patient Opinion to what was - and still is - a troubling situation. It is our responsibility to build a picture of the provision of services in Devon and these comments should help the NHS and other providers develop and improve their services.

If you wish to discuss 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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