At The Harley Street Oral Reconstruction Centre the care of our patients may involve more than one clinician. In order to provide safe and coordinated care, we will ensure that we follow the guidelines in this policy. There are many reasons why it may be desirable or necessary to refer a patient to another clinician. However, on all such occasions there are important principles that apply to every referral.
We recognise our professional duty to refer a patient to a colleague where the required treatment is beyond our clinical capabilities, or the patient expresses the wish to have another opinion. The responsibility for making an appropriate referral rests with the referring dentist. It is never acceptable to refer a patient for financial reasons alone, to meet targets or to receive money gifts or hospitality in return for referring patients. Responsibility for treatment provided and related to emergency care in connection with the referred treatment lies with the second dentist. However, we will ensure that our patients always understand to whom they can ask questions regarding all aspects of their care and they can be assured that their treatment plan and objectives of treatment are agreed and understood by all the clinicians undertaking their care.
We will ensure that any referral letter will be made with the patient’s full knowledge and approval, and the reasons and expected outcomes for such referral are discussed and documented. The referral basis, whether under NHS or private terms, will be made clear and any expected obligations for payment will be advised to the patient.
The practice will retain a copy of the referral and any other communication regarding the patient’s treatment in the records and the information will be safely stored as per our Confidentiality Policy and our Data Protection Policy. In addition, we will offer our patients a copy of the referral letter.
A referral log is kept on reception PC and all referrals are followed up within 5 working days; any urgent referral is followed up in 2 working days.
At The Harley Street Oral Reconstruction Centre we comply with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation and all applicable data protection requirements.
We understand the importance of sending confidential personal information via a secure method only. When posting information, we will ensure it is placed in an envelope and marked ‘Private and Confidential’. If the information is being sent electronically then we will ensure it is encrypted. The method we use for encryption is Egress
Referral letters will contain all relevant details to enable the clinician to whom the patient has been referred to contact the patient and to understand what is required. The referral letter will include:
• The patient’s name, address, contact telephone number, date of birth and gender.
• A summary of any relevant medical or dental history (we will have obtained the patient’s consent to disclose this information in the referral letter).
• The reason for referral including any patient-stated preference for treatment.
• Whether the referral is for an opinion only or for treatment.
• An indication of the level of urgency.
• The referring clinician’s name, address and contact telephone number.
• Copies of any relevant radiographs or other special tests.
• Any special needs the patient may have.
The receiving clinician should send a copy of the initial assessment, report and treatment plan to the referring dentist. On occasion the receiving dentist may disagree with the request for proposed treatment if he or she feels it is inappropriate for any reason. In that situation, he or she should respond to the referring dentist stating the reasons for their decision.
If treatment proceeds, upon completion the receiving clinician should send an ‘end of treatment’ letter. This should contain:
• A report on the treatment undertaken.
• Details of any complications that may have arisen.
• What (if any) follow-up is required.
• Their assessment of the patient’s view of the treatment.
• Any other details relevant to the success of the patient’s treatment.
This Policy was reviewed and implemented on 27.04.2021.
This policy and relevant procedures will be reviewed annually and are due for review on 27.04.2021 or prior to this date in accordance with new guidance or legislative changes.