"DART seems to add unnecessary delay"

About: Devon Access and Referral Team (DART) Torbay Hospital / Cardiology

(as the patient),

I was referred by my GP to the cardiology department at Torbay Hospital, where I had previously been treated in November 2008. This referral was sent via the Devon Access and Referral Team.

Six days after the referral was made I received a letter asking me to telephone DART for an appointment. When I rang it was only to be informed that DART cannot give appointments for Cardiology at Torbay Hospital, they can only be given by the Cardiology Unit. DART stated they would forward my referral to Torbay who would be in touch with an appointment.

If DART are unable to give appointments why are they involved at all, why don't they immediately forward the referral to Torbay Cardiology Unit rather than delay the process while a letter is sent out on their behalf offering an appointment they can't provide?

The Devon Access and Referral Team is another layer of bureaucracy in the Health Service which is unnecessary, time consuming, costly to the patient, and causes delay in patients accessing the care they need. Mine was an urgent referral and I am still awaiting an appointment.

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

Dear ‘Rodders’,

Thank you for taking the time to contact us regarding your recent experience of DART. We do appreciate all feedback as, where possible, we act upon it to improve the service for patients.

I can understand that it must be frustrating to phone DART for your appointment only to be told that the hospital in question is going to have to contact you directly. However, one of the main aims of DART is to offer patients a choice of hospital and, when requested, to provide information to the patient that may help them make their decision. Had you chosen a different hospital, we may have been able to book the appointment for you there and then and so, until you have made your choice your details cannot be passed on.

I can assure you that your referral will be dealt with in a timely manner and given the appropriate priority by Torbay Hospital. If you would like us to check on your referral and advise on a more specific time-frame for you, please feel free to phone our Patient Helpdesk on 01626 883888.

Kind regards,


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