OBJECTIVES: To assess the opinions of general dental practitioners (GDPs) working within the National Health Ser vice (NHS) in Merseyside regarding the length, format and appropriateness of consultant orthodontists' letters sent in reply to referral letters. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: These were GDPs' satisfaction with the length, format and content of the reply letters; GDPs' preferences for the information deemed necessary in such letters; GDPs' awareness of the status of their patients and the actions they were requested to undertake. METHOD: After piloting, questionnaires were mailed to 330 participating GDPs between August and October 2004. RESULTS: Two hundred and fifty-one (76%) questionnaires were returned. With one exception, the length of consultants' letters was thought to be adequate. Of the responding GDPs 82% stated a preference for summaries of the diagnosis and treatment plan to be presented in a list format rather than as free text. Aspects of the treatment plan were thought to be more important than the information about the examination. Following receipt of the reply letter only 71% of GDPs were aware of what was happening to their patients and 75% knew what actions they were to undertake. CONCLUSIONS: This audit provides evidence that GDPs consider that a significant portion of the information in consultants' reply letters is not needed. Relevant information may be poorly communicated.
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Primary dental care : journal of the Faculty of General Dental Practitioners (UK)|
|Publication status||Published - Apr 2007|