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Working to ensure no delays

NHS staff who book outpatient appointments at hospitals in Devon and East Cornwall are pulling out the stops to ensure no delays to treatment after problems were identified with the new national software.
 
Teething problems with the electronic referral service since it launched last week mean that it is still running slowly.
 
Staff who use the system to book referrals at hospitals throughout Devon report that it is taking much longer than usual to handle each booking.
 
And with up to 7,000 bookings a week to make, a backlog has started to form.
 
But Karen Barry, who manages the service on behalf of the Devon Referral Support Service (DRSS), said that staff are working hard to ensure there are no delays to treatment.
 
“The national system is up and running but very slow,” she said.
 
“We are taking no chances and immediately put in place contingencies so that people who need a rapid referral, such as those patients with suspected cancer, continue to be seen within two weeks.
 
“All referrals are being prioritised too and we have drafted in staff from other teams at the CCG to help us to work through the backlog.
 
“All GP practices in Devon are helping us to manage this and we are keeping patients regularly updated with telephone messages.
 
“Patients are our number one priority and we are committed to ensuring that they do not suffer as a result.”
 
Staff and managers worked over the weekend to tackle the backlog.
 
Managers say that they are working very closely with acute hospital trusts and have local arrangements in place as part of contingency plans.
 
“We are determined that this national IT problem will not affect local appointment times,” Karen said.
 
“Everyone who needs an appointment will get one.
 
“For now though I would just like to thank people for their patience.”