• 01 JUN 16


    As a practice we sometimes need to refer a patient to a specialist dentist. This can be for surgical (taking a tooth out), endodontics (taking out the nerves in a tooth), periodontics (gum treatment) treatment, amongst other treatments.

    NHS England have set up a system whereby all referrals must go through their offices and they will then process the paperwork,sendingon the referrals to either the local specialist or to your local referral centre if you live outside this area.

    You will always be referred to the local specialist in the area where you are registered with a general practioner (doctor/GP). This means we usually do not know where you will receive your specialist treatment.

    In different areas of the country and for different specialisms, there are a wide variation of waiting times for your initial consultation and then actual treatment. These waiting times change all the time, depending on availability of specialists, funds and the contracts that the referral centres have made with local hospitals and specialists. We, like other high street dentists, have no control over this process.

    Whilst we are very well aware of the unsatisfactory nature of these arrangements, we have almost no power to alter the situation. It is only in the most extreme circumstances, suspected cancer, a child in great pain or trauma, that we can intervene and ask (not insist) whether our patient can jump to the front of the queue.

    We always mark a referral as urgent if we believe it to be so, the consultant will then triage the referral based on their own judgement.

    If you have not heard from a clinic within 8-10 weeks of the referral being sent by your dentist (Usually within 2 working days of receiving your GP’s details), then you should contact the referral centre at:

    Dental referral centre, 1Frith Street London W1D 3QS 020 7534 6524 and speak to the person who is in charge of the department dealing with dental referrals.

    Or get assistance in making a complaint about any delay contact Patient Advisory and Liaison Service on pals@inwl.nhs.uk or call them on 0800 389 9092. Or write directly to Complaints Officer NHS England, 15 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5JD. Telephone: 0203 350 4500.