"Appointment Request"

About: Devon Access and Referral Team (DART)

(as the patient),

I received a letter with a unique booking code and password. I was told to ring the Devon Access and Referral Team (DART) and make my appointment for an Ophthalmology visit. I followed the instructions only to be told that they could not help me and that the Hospital needed to contact me direct.

What is the point of sending me a letter with all the admin and phone calls involved when clearly this would be of no use. I now await the hospital to contact me in two to six weeks and would like to bet that I hear nothing in that time.

Terrible service, total waste of time, and probably in the end I will need to go back to my GP and start again.

And I thought the NHS was improving.

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Response from John Tovey, Business Manager, Devon Access & Referral Team

Dear Tezzer

Firstly, I would like to thank you for taking the time to send us your feedback on your experience as it does help us in identifying areas to improve the service.

I am sure that this was a very frustrating experience for you and can understand why you felt that phoning DART was a waste of time as you have yet to receive an appointment.

Our main role at DART is to give patients advice on the choice of different hospitals available for your appointment, so that you can decide where you would like to go. Unfortunately, on some occasions the hospital chosen can be very busy and have no appointments available for us to offer. I suspect this is what has happened in your case. We are of course monitoring the extent to which this happens and working hard with all our local hospitals in Devon to try and minimise this problem.

Your referral would have been passed to the hospital you chose and they will be well aware of the need to find you an appointment. There should be absolutely no reason why you are not sent one, or any reason for you to go back to your GP in these circumstances. If you have not received an appointment within 4 weeks of phoning DART please do call our helpline and we will ensure that this is progressed so that you do not have to go back to your GP. You can contact us on 01626 883888 Mon-Fri 9am-5pm.

Once again, I apologise for the delay you have experienced and hope that your appointment arrives shortly.

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