"Choose and Book annoyances"

About: Devon Access and Referral Team (DART)

(as the patient),

Telephoned Devon Access and Referral Team (DART) for choose and book appointment.

This system uses an 0845 number which is chargeable which is annoying when I get first 60 mins. free with my provider.

Even more annoying is the message that my "call is important" every 20 seconds! From being fourth in the system it took 8 minutes to get a human voice and then we spent 10 minutes going through my details to be told no date was available and the hospital would send my appointment by post.

I felt it was a waste of time and money.

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Responses

Response from Susan Pearce, Project Support Manager, DART (Devon Access & Referral Team), NHS Devon We are preparing to make a change

Dear 'Bodger',

Thank you very much for taking the time to let us know about your experience. We value all opinions and will use the information to try and improve our service.

Regarding our use of an 0845 number, this was decided upon as the more suitable option for most people as it guarantees that no-one has to pay more than a local rate charge, no matter what phone line they call from. However, we realise that, depending on what phone package you are using, some patients will have to pay a charge rather than make use of their free calls and so we are looking into options that would allow people to choose an '01' number to call if this is the case.

This is a new service and so we are monitoring patient's opinions on the hold music/messages and will be making changes as appropriate. We are also trying to build up a picture of the busy times of day so that we can adjust staffing levels and try to avoid patients having to queue for several minutes before speaking to someone.

We are aware that some patients are currently not able to be given appointments over the phone, as is supposed to happen, and we are working with the local hospitals to try and get more appointments available online so that this doesn't happen in the future.

I'm sorry that you had such a frustrating experience but please be assured that we are monitoring patient's feedback to improve the service and try to stop other patients having to go through the same thing.

Kind regards,

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Update posted by Bodger (the patient)

Thanks for interesting response,if you can implement the changes that you have identified I for one would be pleased. 01 number first priority. I have had same problem with no appointments available when using choose and book through a non DART call centre, is this a problem with North Devon District Hospital?

This appointment will be with the fourth consultant looking into my problems, my experience of the attention I get can only be classed as excellelent.

Regards Bodger

Response from Susan Pearce, Project Support Manager, DART (Devon Access & Referral Team), NHS Devon

Dear Bodger,

Thanks for coming back to us again, people's responses really helps us to hone the service to suit the patients which is what we want.

In response to your question about no appointments being available, it's not North Devon District Hospital in particular but all large hospitals in the area that have this problem to varying degrees. As I mentioned before, this is a problem that we are all aware of and we all work together to monitor the situation and try to target problem areas. Unfortunatley, the larger issue is not one that we can quickly solve but we are trying.

Kind regards,

Susan

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Response from Susan Pearce, Project Support Manager, DART (Devon Access & Referral Team), NHS Devon We have made a change

Hello again Bodger,

I realise that it's too late for you but I just wanted to let you know that we are now offering 01 numbers for patients to call as well as the 0845 numbers so patients can choose whichever suits them best.

So, thanks again for your feedback; it helped to make things better for other patients.

Kind regards,

Susan

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