During her comprehensive presentation to this year’s Annual Conference in Galway, Dr Claire Healy, Senior Lecturer/Consultant in Oral Medicine, Dublin Dental University Hospital, made a call for better referral information and backed it up with a clear message for GDPs on what the Hospital needs:

  • If you identify an ulcer or a white or a red patch, remove obvious causes and review it two weeks later.
  • If it fails to resolve, refer it.
  • If you suspect squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) at the outset, send an urgent referral by fax and phone.
  • Otherwise send us a letter.
  • Avoid the term ‘lesion’! It is overused and inadequate.
  • We need you to describe what you see – is it a white patch, a red patch, an ulcer, a lump, etc.? Is it hard or soft?
  • Carry out a neck exam.
  • If at all possible, please include a photograph.
  • Give details of medical history and lifestyle risk factors.

She said this information is important in prioritising the many referrals that they receive.