Background: A primary care oral surgery service was commissioned alongside an electronic referral management system in England, in response to rising demand for Oral Surgery services in secondary care. It is important to ensure that standards of quality and safety are similar to those in existing secondary care services, and that the new service is acceptable to stakeholders. The aim of this study is therefore to conduct an in depth case study to explore safety, quality, acceptability and implementation of the new service. Methods: This case study draws on multiple sources of evidence to report on the commissioning process, implementation, treatment outcomes and acceptability to patients relating to a new oral surgery service in a primary care setting. A combination of audit data and interviews were analysed. Results: Most referrals to the new service consisted of tooth extractions of appropriate complexity for the service. There were issues with lack of awareness of the new service in a primary care setting within referring primary care practices and patients at the start of implementation, however over time the service became a fully integrated part of the service landscape. Complications reported following surgery were low. Conclusion: Patients liked the convenience of the new service in terms of shorter waiting time and geographical location and their patient reported experience measures and outcomes were similar to those reported in secondary care. Providing appropriate clinical governance was in place, oral surgery could safely be provided in a primary care setting for patients without complex medical needs. Attention needs to be paid to communication with general dental practices around in changes to the service pathway during the early implementation period to ensure all patients can receive care in the most appropriate setting.
Keywords: Oral Surgery, Primary Health Care, Referral Management, Organisational Case Studies, Patient Satisfaction, Demand Management