"I see the value of DART but my son is still without medication"

About: Devon Access and Referral Team (DART)

(as a relative),

On behalf of my son, who is under 16yrs and has been suffering with skin problems, I used the DART service for the 1st time to book an appointment for him at a dermatology clinic. Our GP referred us to DART to book an appointment directly, we had no other option. There was lots of confusion about where the clinics were held – from Sidmouth to a ‘gypsy’ clinic which I knew nothing about.

I did some research and couldn’t find any reference of this ‘gypsy’ clinic so I called back and was told that this information was incorrect and our only option was to go to a dermatology clinic in Exmouth. We finally got an appointment in July (my son originally saw the GP in May), and when there, the doctor told us that we should never have been referred to him and that we should have attended the clinic in Exeter.

The other issue is that it’s now my understanding that only certain hospitals are able to prescribe and distribute the medication my son needs, and disappointingly, Exmouth are not able to do so.

We were told that we would need to begin the whole process again by going back to our GP and requesting to be referred to Exeter. I explained that I was not prepared to do this, after all, at that point it was at least 2 months since we had originally saw our GP and we had made no progress. The doctor in Exmouth offered to contact the clinic in Exeter directly to refer my son, which I can only assume he has done because I’ve not heard anything yet.

This referral process is now stretching into months, which is not acceptable. I can see the value of the DART service, but unfortunately my experience has not been a good one. I hope to hear from someone soon, but if I don’t, my only option will be to contact DART or my GP again. In the meantime, my son is still without the medication he needs 2 months on.

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

Dear ‘local178’,

Thank you for contacting us. I would very much like to look into the details of your son’s referral so that I can understand the situation better and respond fully. If you are willing I would be very grateful if you could call me on 01626 883888 so that I can investigate further and I will check on the status of your son’s referral at the same time.

Many thanks & kind regards,


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

Dear ‘local178’,

Thank you so much for calling in and discussing the details with me.

As we discussed, there were a series of minor mistakes that led to your son being booked into the wrong clinic and we have now addressed these individually, both those that occurred within DART as well as those related to other local services. The most glaring of these is that the description of the clinic that our booking staff view has now been amended to say that the medication in question cannot be initiated from that particular clinic. We have also spoken to the staff member that booked that appointment regarding checking the age of a patient before searching for an appropriate clinic.

As I mentioned on the phone, I realise that none of the above helps your situation but we are very grateful that you took the time to contact us as we have now been able to improve things for future patients and stop this mistake happening again. I have had confirmation this morning that your son’s appointment has been re-booked as discussed on Friday and you should receive a confirmation letter shortly.

Kind regards,


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