The referral system for specialist dental services at Sefako Makgatho Oral Health Centre: a cross-sectional study



hierarchical, repercussion


The functioning of various referral systems in service delivery at district level have been described. To examine the functioning of referral system for specialist dental services at Sefako Makgatho Oral Health Centre. The prevalence of self-referrals and emergency patients and reasons for referrals were determined. The pattern of referrals for elective treatment at the clinical units was
described. This was a cross-sectional study A structured closed questionnaire was used to collect data related to demographic characteristics, reasons for referrals to the clinic and whether patients were referred by healthcare workers or self-referred. Patients themselves or with the assistance of the research team completed the questionnaire. Data required for classifying patients into
emergency and non-emergency was gathered from the service register. The classification was made based on the
referral preferences of attending clinicians. A substantial proportion of visitors to the hospital were self-referred (71.3%), emergency patients (69.7%). Among referred patients, the most common reason for referrals was for specialist oral and maxillofacial surgical services. The majority (64.7%) of hospital visitors received elective treatment referrals, 48.9% of which were for general dentistry.
The prevalence of self-referrals by emergency patients is extremely high


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Author Biography

SR Mthethwa, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University


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How to Cite

Mthethwa, S. ., & Ramphoma, K. (2022). The referral system for specialist dental services at Sefako Makgatho Oral Health Centre: a cross-sectional study. South African Dental Journal, 76(10), 618–623. Retrieved from