Devon Referral Support Services

Text size: A | A+ | A++

  • New Devon CCG

DRSS is part of NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW Devon CCG).

link to main new devon ccg web site

  • Contact DRSS

Helpdesk: 01626 883 888


Are you Ready, Willing and Able?

This information is to help you to prepare for your outpatient appointment. It tells you what you can expect from your local NHS and how you can help to keep your care as prompt and safe as possible.

Waiting for treatment or an operation can be an anxious time. You may be in discomfort, not able to live the day to day life you want, or be relying on friends and family for support.

Waiting times in the NHS are at their shortest ever. From April 2009, you can expect your local NHS to provide care and treatment within 18 weeks for 'routine' or non emergency care. This means that you may receive an out-patients appointment very quickly after being referred by your GP. Please don't be alarmed by the speed of the appointment, it is normal to get your first appointment within two to four weeks.

Alongside NHS staff, you have a role to play to help prevent delays in receiving your treatment. Please support your local hospital by keeping your appointment. Cancelled or empty clinics waste NHS resources and mean we are not as efficient as we would like.

If you would like to know more about the 18 week programme please visit the NHS Choices web site.

Please read this leaflet to help you understand the role you play in helping the hospital to see and treat patients as quickly as possible.

Ready, Steady, Quit!

If you are a smoker, now is the time to quit! You will be healthier in the long run, will heal quicker, will feel better faster and will be less likely to suffer from complications.

If you need extra help to stop smoking please ask your GP, pharmacist or phone or call your local stop smoking team. There are many resources available including the Smoke Free Alliance Devon.

You can help us to ensure you get treated more quickly and here's how:


Make sure your details are accurate and up to date in your healthcare records. This includes your personal details and also you address and contact information.

Talk to your GP or healthcare professional about your treatment so you can understand what to expect and when. If you have any questions about your treatment you can contact your GP practice by phone or by letter.

Be prepared to accept the earliest appointment offered to you. The quicker you are seen the quicker you can be treated.


Remember you have choice of hospitals. Be prepared to consider a hospital other than your local one especially if there is a shorter waiting time available somewhere else.

Keep the appointments you have chosen. If you are unsure whether to attend, perhaps because of illness or family circumstances, please contact the hospital as soon as possible. If you do not attend the appointment that you chose you will have to contact your GP practice to choose another appointment time and place. This will lengthen the time you wait to be seen and may delay care for others too.

Rearrange your appointment as early as possible if you realise you cannot attend the appointment you chose and need to rearrange an alternative. If you let us know at least 3 days before you appointment we can offer the appointment to another patient who needs it. If you cancel your appointment more than once, we will refer you back to your GP practice to choose another appropriate time and place. This will lengthen the time you wait to be seen.

And Able...

Look after yourself ahead of your appointment so that you are well enough to be treated. Think about how you may improve your lifestyle, for example by stopping smoking or losing weight. If you have a long-term condition such as asthma or diabetes please take care to ensure it is well managed.

If you are not well enough to have your diagnostic test or treatment, your GP will re-refer you when you are ready.

Following this basic guide will help us reduce the number of hospital visits you must make and enable an earlier diagnosis, treatment and care.

Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) ensures that the NHS listens to patients, relatives, carers and friends, answers questions and resolves concerns as quickly as possible. If you have a query or concern, please contact your local service: