• Audit of the Health Service Executive orthodontic referral pathway between 2009 and 2011 in the Dublin Mid-Leinster region.

      Wolstencroft, Simon; Khosa, Allah Dad (2014-03-21)
      An audit was undertaken in 2009 to determine the success of the new national orthodontic referral protocol introduced to the Health Service Executive (HSE) in 2007 and operated in the Dublin Mid-Leinster HSE region. It was repeated in 2011 to determine if the HSE austerity measures have had a bearing on the orthodontic service performance in the Dublin Mid-Leinster HSE region. The audit also measured the success of referring practitioners in identifying the correct Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need (IOTN) classification of the patient. In the 2011 audit, the figures were broken down to identify the occlusal variables that caused dental practitioners most difficulties in identification. The audit demonstrates a good referral to assessment timeframe in 2009 (85-80% compliance for IOTN 5 and 4 within three to six months, respectively), which deteriorates significantly in 2011 (26-4% for IOTN 5 and 4 within three to six months, respectively). The ability of dentists to identify the correct IOTN classification was better in 2009 (60% correct) compared to 2011 (51% correct), but both figures fell below the audit standard of 75% of referrals with correct IOTN classifications. The IOTN occlusal dental health components most readily identified by referring practitioners and meeting audit standards were 5a (overjet >9mm), 5i (impacted teeth) and 5h (extensive hypodontia). The remaining occlusal dental health components in the HSE IOTN fell below the audit standard. The audit clearly identifies a requirement for a continued educational effort to maintain the HSE IOTN skill base in primary care, and a need for additional resources to manage the demand for orthodontic assessments.
    • Open-access ultrasound referrals from general practice.

      Hughes, P; Beddy, P; Sheehy, N (Irish Medical Journal, 2015-03)
      Direct access referral for radiological investigations from General Practice (GP) provides an indispensable diagnostic tool and avoids the inherently long waiting time that referral through a hospital based specialty would entail. Improving access to hospital based radiology services is one of Health Information and Quality Authority's key recommendations in its report on patient referrals from general practice. This study aimed to review all GP referrals for ultrasound investigations to a tertiary referral teaching hospital over a seven month period with respect to their demographics, waiting times and diagnostic outcomes. 1,090 ultrasounds originating in general practice were carried out during the study period. Positive findings were recorded in 332 (30.46%) examinations. The median waiting time from receipt of referral to the diagnostic investigation was 56 days (range 16 - 91 years). 71 (6.5%) patients had follow-up imaging investigations while recommendation for hospital based specialty referral was made in 35 cases (3.2%). Significant findings included abdominal aortic aneurysms, metastatic disease and lymphoma. Direct access to ultrasound for general practitioners allows the referring physician to make an informed decision with regard to the need for specialist referral. We believe these findings help support the case for national direct access to diagnostic ultrasound for general practitioners.