Having been talked about since the Steele Review of dentistry the so called pathway guides have now been launched. They describe the routes for specialist care available for patients on the NHS. Although the guides are designed for commissioners, there is much of interest for dentists in primary care, both those wishing to refer patients into specialist care and those who might be interested in providing services.
Every patient journey to specialist dental care should begin with a visit to his or her primary dental care practitioner (GDS or CDS) from whom they receive regular care; this may be an NHS or private primary care provider.
Current the guides available are oral surgery (and oral medicine), orthodontics and special care dentistry.
Each describes a level of care complexity – Level 1, 2 and 3 – with 3 frequently being divided into 3a and 3b to represent the difference between specialists and non specialists and consultants.
There is a summary document explaining the guides and their development – you can read it here.