Select location
Membership information
0800 561 9000
Dentolegal advice
0800 561 1010
Refine my search

Reviewing a referral gets it right

Post date: 15/07/2014 | Time to read article: 1 mins

The information within this article was correct at the time of publishing. Last updated 14/11/2018

Mistakes can be made when writing referral letters, double checking the details can only help avoid anything like this happening...

Care should be taken when writing a referral letter. The specialist will rely on the letter to provide all the necessary information. This case resulted in two incorrect dental extractions being carried out because the referring practitioner, an orthodontist, had used a ‘carbon-free’ type of referral sheet to request the extractions.

The sheet contained a blank grid on which the orthodontist would indicate which teeth were to be extracted. Unfortunately, the bottom copy had slipped, the orthodontist didn’t notice and the instruction to the surgeon appeared to request the extraction of 24 and 34, not 14 and 44.

Nobody realised what had happened until the patient returned for treatment to the orthodontist, who was horrified to find the wrong teeth had been removed. Once the records had been reviewed and the error identified, the source of the error became clear. A discreet out-of-court settlement was arranged and the orthodontist modified her treatment plan in the light of this event to contain the damage done.

Learning point:

All referral requests should be reviewed to ensure they contain the correct information. This should be done before providing a copy of the referral to the patient (so they understand what they are being referred for) and storing a copy of the request in the patient’s record.

These case studies are based on real events and provided here as guidance. They do not constitute legal advice but are published to help members better understand how they might deal with certain situations. This is just one of the many benefits dental members enjoy as part of their subscription. 

For more detailed advice on any issues, contact us

Share this article

Load more reviews

You've already submitted a review for this item

New site feature tour

Introducing an improved
online experience

You'll notice a few things have changed on our website. After asking our members what they want in an online platform, we've made it easier to access our membership benefits and created a more personalised user experience.

Why not take our quick 60-second tour? We'll show you how it all works and it should only take a minute.

Take the tour Continue to site

Dentolegal advice
0800 561 1010
Membership information
0800 561 9000

Key contact details

Should you need to contact us, our phone numbers are always visible.

Personalise your search

We'll save your profession in the "I am a..." dropdown filter for next time.

Tour completed

Now you've seen all of the updated features, it's time for you to try them out.

Continue to site
Take again