"Access to DART"

About: Devon Access and Referral Team (DART)

(as the patient),

Received a letter requesting I contact DART to arrange an appointment with the Pain Clinic.

Was so shocked at the wait for available appointments (10 weeks for my local hospital, 9 for one 30 odd miles away), that I said the arrangements were crazy and I'd ring my GP.

Decided to ring back (14:35 ish) to ask a few supplemantary questions (previous TIAs mean I don't think as quickly as I used to) only to get the message that DART was now closed for training. The answerphone message didn't give a time when it would be taking calls. Would it be that difficult to say when they were open again for business?

A recent previous story here tells of a similar 'we are closed for training' answerphone message and there was an explanation that training away days only happen once a year. Well they may not be on an away training day today but they are still unnaccessible and I don't have a clue when they will be available.

I wonder whether DART have forgotten what they are there for, patients or staff?

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Responses

Response from Susan Pearce, Project Support Manager, DART (Devon Access & Referral Team), NHS Devon We are preparing to make a change

Dear ‘lifeisnotarehersal’,

Thank you for taking the time to contact us, we do appreciate all feedback from patients so that we can try to improve our service.

I am very sorry that you were unable to get through when you called yesterday, I realise that it must be very frustrating. We do only shut the whole office for our training and team building event once a year but the individual teams do shut down on occasion for training sessions, which is why you were unable to contact anyone yesterday. We are very much aware that we are here for the patients, which is why we make every effort to keep our staff up to date with the latest changes in the specialties they deal with. We try to do this by splitting the team for meetings where possible so that the phones can still be answered, or we update the teams with paper/electronic messages if possible. However, yesterday we had a two specialists visiting to talk to the team and they could only stay long enough to talk to the team as whole and so we had to close the phone lines for that team.

Your comment about including a time frame in our recorded message is very valid and we have been looking into this. We are not able to implement it straightaway but we hope to be able to soon.

I will shortly be responding to your other posting.

Best wishes,

Susan

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

Dear ‘lifeisnotarehersal’,

I just wanted to confirm that we do now have the facility to put a time-frame on our recorded messages and we do use this function. I realise that this doesn't change the experience you had but I wanted to thank you for your suggestion, it will improve our service for other patients.

Best wishes,

Susan

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