"I have been trying to get through to this service all week"

About: Devon Access and Referral Team (DART)

(as a service user),

I have been trying to get through to this service all week. I have called the number 4 times on each of the last 4 days Monday – Thursday - 16 calls in total. On each attempt the phone has rung and rung and then gone dead. Today, Friday, there is a message stating they are on training! Due to other commitments I may not be able to call them again today so the next time may not be until Tuesday due to the Bank holiday on Monday.

This experience reflects the previous experience when I used the service around 3 years ago to arrange an operation. On 5 separate occasions I provided DART with dates on which I was NOT available due to work commitments, on each occasion I was sent an appointment precisely within the dates I was not available.

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Response from Gemma Smith, Project Support Manager - Devon Referral Support Services, Devon Access & Referral Team (DART)

Dear ‘Patchy195’,

I am very concerned that you have had so many failed attempts to get through to the team and the phone has rung and rung. If you could either email me at cab.helpdesk@nhs.net or if you can, ring me directly on 01626 883712 and we will be able to avoid any further delay.

With regards to the training message, at times DART staff members are required to attend training sessions to remain up to date with local service details so we can advise patients appropriately. We use an automated phone system to deliver a training message during this down time and it should have offered you the facility to leave an answer message and a team member would return your call.

The phone system should normally allow phone calls to ring systematically to each team member. If the team are busy on other calls, the call will be forwarded to our internal helpdesk team or you will be given the option of leaving a message for the team to call you back. We have not had any service notifications that the system is not working and to make sure the telephone system is fully functional we have checked it today. The telecoms equipment has no evidence of any recent faults and is working well today with no faults.

Many thanks

Gemma Tremlett

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