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***Improved Access to GP routine appointments

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Choose & Book

Devon Referral Support Services ("DRSS") - Booking NHS appointments
  • What is DRSS?
  • Things to consider before being referred for specialist advice or care
  • Your questions answered
  • Your feedback
  • Choosing your hospital
The Devon Referral Support Services ("DRSS") comprises two former teams – Devon Access and Referral Team (DART) and Tamar Referral and Appointment Centre (TRAC).

If your GP wishes to access further advice and care for you then the DRSS is the local service for patients which will manage this process as quickly and efficiently as possible.  It will help you to choose the most appropriate service for you and explain what choices are available.

The teams at DRSS will be able to advise you on all the choices available to progress your specific care needs.  This may include choosing your hospital, booking your appointment or updating you on what is happening with your referral.

Your GP will pass your details to the DRSS and will generate a unique booking reference number for you.  Your GP will also give you a leaflet with your unique booking reference or NHS number and details of contact numbers.

It is important that you plan ahead before your GP refers you for specialist advice.  In particular:
  • Consider family commitments or, if appropriate, ensure you have spoken to carers or anyone who may need to assist you in attending an appointment, for instance by assisting with transport.
  • Talk to your GP or healthcare professional about your treatment so that you understand what to expect and when.
  • Remember you have a choice of hospital.  Be aware that you can consider hospitals or healthcare providers other than your local one.
  • Look after yourself ahead of your appointment so that you are well enough to be treated.
  • Think about how you might improve your lifestyle, for example stopping smoking or losing weight.
  • Your local NHS Stop Smoking Service has highly trained Stop Smoking Advisors.  In Devon you can contact them on 01884 836 024 for Torbay please ring 01803 299 160 and for Cornwall ring 01209 215 666.
Taking basic steps to improve your lifestyle can hopefully reduce the number of hospital visits you have to make and enable earlier diagnosis and treatment.

DRSS - Your questions answered
  • What information will the DRSS teams need when I call?
    You will be asked for your unique booking reference or NHS number which your practice will either have written on this leaflet or supplied separately. You will also be asked to confirm your name, date of birth and address where you live.

    The teams will need to speak to you directly, as the patient, unless you give permission for a relative or carer to book an appointment on your behalf.  This is to protect your privacy as per Patient Confidentiality and Data Protection guidelines.
  • Is choice offered for all conditions?
    A choice of hospital is available for most medical conditions. However, not all hospitals treat every medical condition.  You may need to see a specialist GP or have a test, in which case you will not be offered a choice of hospital.
  • What happens if I change my choice of healthcare provider?
    If you decide, after making an appointment, that you want to change your choice of hospital, please contact the relevant ART team, who can advise you on your options.
  • What if I need to change my appointment?
    Your provider may have confirmed your appointment in writing and supplied a contact number in their letter.  If you need to change or cancel your appointment please use these details.  If you have not received a confirmation letter, please ring the relevant DRSS team for assistance.
    01626 883 888,  the number on the leaflet from your GP or 0845 155 8283.
Your contact details
It is important that the contact details held by your GP practice are up to date.  Please ensure that you notify them of your most up to date telephone numbers.

Further information
For any other general help or queries about choice or for large print, Braille, audio tape or other language versions, please ring:
  • Patient Choice Help line: 01626 883 888 (Opening hours: Mon - Fri 9am - 5pm) - Please do not use this number to book.

Your feedback is important to us:
  • Please let us know about your experience of booking your appointment.  You can do this in one of two ways -
  • Visit and click on “Tell people what happened”; or
  • Phone 0845 113 0012 (local rate) during working hours and tell your story to someone at Patient Opinion, who will put it on the web for you.
Choosing your hospital and The NHS Constitution
In England, under the NHS Constitution, patients ‘have the right to access consultant led non-emergency treatment within a maximum of 18 weeks, or for the NHS to take all reasonable steps to offer a range of alternative providers if this is not possible’.

Most patients also now have the right to choose which hospital provider they are referred to.  This legal right, which was introduced in April 2009, lets patients choose from any hospital provider in England offering a suitable treatment that meets NHS standards and costs.

Patients can choose which hospital they are seen in according to what matters most to them, whether it's location, waiting times, reputation, clinical performance, visiting policies, parking facilities or other patients' comments.

A choice of hospital is available for most patients and in most circumstances.  Exceptions include emergency and urgent services, cancer, maternity and mental health services.  If you need to be seen urgently by a specialist (for example, if you have severe chest pain), you will be sent where you'll be seen most quickly.  Links to more information regarding your choice of hospital (all links open the NHS Choices website):
Please note that the links provided above are for use regarding information about your choice of hospital - but NOT for booking an appointment.  DRSS  should be used by Devon and South East Cornwall patients to book an appointment - see all the information on this page

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