" Devon Access and Referral Team or not?"

About: Devon Access and Referral Team (DART) Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital (Wonford)

(as the patient),

Firstly I have to say I have always had good and efficient treatment from Royal Devon and Exeter (oncology mainly) and my GP.

For a different problem I have now have received notification from DART regarding making an appointment,I have not been told by my GP which specialist they wished me to see.

When I phoned the number given I was asked various questions and eventually told I was speaking to the orthopaedic department for North Devon (my address is Exmouth) and would be transferred.

After holding the line for many minutes I was told I was 1st in the queue and when I eventually spoke to someone I gave all my details again and was then told that they didn't deal with that and my call was again transferred.

I was once again told I was 1st in a queue. Gave all the details for a third time and was told they were busy at present and would phone me back, this did not happen that day.

Next morning I phoned again and was asked if I lived in North Devon. The person tried to be helpful and listened to all the details again (and yesterdays conversations) but again needed to transfer me - did I want to hold or be called back?, I opted to hold and was then 2nd in the queue.

When the call was answered I had to give all the details and the GP/medical practice etc and was then asked to hold while they checked which department I needed.

I was eventually offered an appointment at hospital of my choice (Not North Devon) and told I would receive further information in the post, so still do not know who I will see or exactly where.

All my previous appointments have been sent in one letter with a phone number if they were not suitable, how many more people and extra work/cost has been involved in this latest "improvement" in the service?

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

Dear ‘Tux’,

I’m very sorry to hear about your experience, it sounds incredibly frustrating. I’m quite confused myself about the amount of different people you had to speak to before someone booked your appointment. If your GP surgery had accidentally given you the phone number for the wrong booking team that would obviously lead to them transferring you but our orthopaedic team deal with all orthopaedic referrals regardless of where you live or where you want to go so I can’t understand why the second call transfer was needed or why we had to phone you back.

If you are willing, I’d be very grateful if you would call me on 01626 883888 so that I can get some more details from you as I’d like to investigate this further. Something in our process has obviously gone wrong and I’d like to be able to prevent this happening to anyone else. If you’d rather not phone us again, I’d be grateful if you could reply to this post with the phone number given to you by your surgery and the name of the surgery you’re registered with as that will help me investigate partially at least.

I’d like to thank you for taking the time to let us know about this and apologise again for the inconvenience.

Kind regards,


If you would like to talk to someone at DART about any remaining issues with your referral you can contact our Choose & Book Helpline on 01626 883888.

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