"We are finding the whole situation ridiculous"

About: Devon Access and Referral Team (DART)

(as a relative),

My wife and I are experiencing a major problem trying to get through to DART. My wife needs an appointment and she got a form with a doctors letter giving us a number to ring.

One of the numbers is so badly written that we have tried both numbers on the form. The first one says 'the box is full' when we call and the second one - the helpline - says they are too busy to take our call and we cannot get through to speak to anyone.

We don't know what to do, so we tried to ring our surgery but it was closed. We are finding the whole situation ridiculous.

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

Dear ‘Road611’

Thank you for taking the time to feed back to us regarding your experience, I am very sorry that it has not been a pleasant one. If you wanted to write back and tell us which surgery your wife is registered with I can ask them to be more careful when they write our numbers down which I know wouldn’t help you but would benefit future patients.

Please accept our apologies for not being able to answer your call. Due to unforeseen circumstances we had to close all of our phone lines for approximately an hour and a half yesterday afternoon, during which time our mailbox filled up, which is why you got the messages that you did. We were not able to avoid closing the phone lines but the mailbox did fill up much quicker that we would have expected and as a result we are now talking to our phone provider to ask them to increase the limit so that this won’t happen again and in future patients should at least be able to leave a message if they can’t get through to us for any reason.

Our phones are up and running again today (Wednesday) and are not particularly busy so if you would like to call us again, we’d be happy to help.

Kind regards,


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