Introduction: The intermediate oral surgery service in North East England was introduced in 2009 following changes in the primary care contract in 2005 allowing primary care organisations to locally commission services to meet population need. The aim of this service introduction was to reduce pressures on secondary care and improve efficiency and costs of oral surgery service provision. Where there are geographical variations in the number of referrals received to intermediate oral surgery services in North East England, this study aimed to identify the reasons for these. Materials and methods: A retrospective analysis of referrals to the National Health Service (NHS) Intermediate North East of England Oral Surgery Service was completed. Analysis of 48,286 referrals from 2009 to 2019 was assessed from two NHS specialist oral surgery providers. Primary care practice referrals were located to practice postcode; the sum of referrals from each postcode accumulated over this period. Referral variations were compared with NHS primary care contract sizes, distance to specialist provider and Index of Multiple Deprivation of provider location to identify correlations. Results: Data indicate a significant range in primary care referral frequency over the 10-year period. Referrals from primary care providers ranged from 1 to 2334 over the 10-year period. No correlation is seen between distance to provider (r2 = 0.058), contract size (r2 = 0.087), deprivation levels (r2 = 0.01) and the referral rate. Conclusion: The large variation in referral rate provides data for commissioners of dental services including managed clinical networks (MCNs) to outline high referring primary care practices and plan for future service development.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We are grateful to the North East Knowledge and Intelligence Team at Public Health England for their help with statistical analysis. We give thanks to Richard Holmes and Rebecca Hierons for peer reviewing the paper. The views expressed throughout are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Public Health England or the National Health Service.
© 2021 The British Association of Oral Surgeons and John Wiley & Sons Ltd
- oral surgery