This policy sets out the procedures we follow for external and internal referrals. In other words, it defines the patient pathways that we follow at hygeia.
All patients attending the practice will first be seen by the Clinical Director, Joanne Giddy, for either a new patient consultation, a routine check-up or an emergency consultation. The purpose of these appointments is to allow diagnosis to take place and further action to be agreed with the patient.
There are four possible outcomes (and sometimes a combination of these):
All four possible outcomes will be followed by a further routine examination at a suitable recall interval.
Where a patient is to undergo treatment with the Clinical director, she will, during the course of the examination/consultation, have charted items of planned treatment and have devised a treatment plan in discussion with the patient. She will refer to this treatment plan (plus any intra-oral photographs and x-rays) and will confirm the proposed treatment with the patient prior to commencement of treatment at the next appointment(s).
Where a patient is to undergo treatment with or receive oral hygiene instruction and advice from the hygienist, the necessary information is communicated to the hygienist in much the same manner. The hygienist will refer to the treatment plan and periodontal chart (that will have been prepared by the Clinical Director at the examination) in order to determine what treatment or advice is necessary.
In either case, once periodontal, restorative and/or surgical treatment is complete, an appointment will be made for the patient to return for a routine examination after an appropriate period.
Where a patient requires treatment that we are unable to provide, we refer the patient to another professional who specialises in an appropriate area of expertise.
The referring clinician must obtain the patient's consent to make the referral. The patient should understand the reasons for referral, what the treatment may involve and any possible complications that may arise. Before seeing a specialist, the patient should be allowed time to consider the risks involved. At this stage, a further appointment should also be made for the patient to return to the practice for a routine examination following an appropriate interval or alternatively at an earlier date to review the position with the dentist following their external referral.
A referral should be sent within 14 days of obtaining consent from the patient (save in the case of suspected cancers, which must be sent on the same working day).
The referral should include:
accepting a referral
We do not accept referrals from other practices.
Where an emergency situation occurs, such as a medical emergency in the dental surgery that involves the patient losing consciousness, it may be necessary, in order to ensure that the patient's best interests are served, to share confidential information with other healthcare professionals without first obtaining consent from the patient. The healthcare professionals concerned may be, for example, paramedics or the staff of a hospital emergency medicine department to whom the patient's ongoing treatment is being referred.
In such cases, the treating dentist may release such information to other healthcare professionals as they consider necessary for the ongoing treatment of the patient. This may be done verbally or in a written format. If information is shared verbally a note should be made (as soon as reasonably practicable) of what information has been released and this should be kept with the patient's records. Such information may include (though this is not an exhaustive list) their name, address, date of birth, sex, medical history, recent treatment, details of the medical emergency and any first aid given.
inappropriate sharing of information
Where patient information has been shared inappropriately, it is the responsibility of the Practice Director, Neil Phillips, to undertake an investigation and implement any necessary procedural changes that may be required to avoid a repetition of such inappropriate sharing. The patient must be informed of the fact that their personal data has been shared in an inappropriate manner and should be advised of any measures taken to prevent a repetition of this.
Web version 2: 27.2.2011 (Reviewed 25.1.2012, 12.3.2013; 19.6.2104)