"Still no appointment?"

About: Devon Access and Referral Team (DART)

(as the patient),

I was referred by my GP at the end of May for a cardiology appointment. In fact my GP simply told me that she wanted to refer me for a 24hour recording.

The surgery then did not refer me - I contact them 2 weeks later and they stated that they hadn't done and did it then. I then contacted DART and after a protracted phone call was told 'now we refer you'. I said that I was a little surprised as I thought I was calling to make an appointment (of which the DART leaflet gives the impression).

Since then I have heard absolutely nothing. Why is there this extra level of bureaucracy in the process? It would have been quicker, simpler and all together less confusing had my GP surgery just referred me as they used to. I'm not impressed at all.

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Responses

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

Dear ‘Tuesday’,

Thank you for taking the time to let us know about your experience and I’m sorry that you haven’t received a satisfactory service.

I have spoken to the members of our team who deal with the cardiology referrals and they have advised that out of our three nearest hospitals, two (RD&E and Torbay) have this process of the hospital contacting you back in place for cardiology referrals. Usually, when a patient phones DART, we are able to offer a choice of hospitals and view the appointments at each hospital and the patient can book a suitable appointment there and then. However, there are a few specialities, such as cardiology, where there are a range of diagnostic tests frequently required and the correct clinic for the patient is not obvious to a non-clinician. In these cases some hospitals choose to not allow us to book the referral but to get a specialist to check the referral first and book the appointment themselves to avoid having to change it later which would obviously inconvenience the patient.

The referrals are still sent via DART however because we are here to offer patients a choice of hospitals and not all hospitals have this system. Had you wanted to be seen at Barnstaple or Musgrove, for example, we would have been able to book the appointment while you were on the phone.

I am told that we advise patients that they should here from the Cardiology department directly within 4 weeks of speaking to us which is what we have been advised by the hospitals. If it has been over 4 weeks since you first spoke to us, please call us back on 0845 863 0672 or 01626 883898 and we will contact the hospital for you to chase your appointment up.

I hope this answers your query but if not, please feel free to post a reply to this comment and I will do my best to answer any questions you still have. And, again, apologies for the inconvenience you have suffered. With regard to the initial delay with your GP surgery, if you would like to let me know which surgery you are registered with I’d be happy to contact them for you.

Kind regards,

Susan

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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