Referral to emergency

If any of the following are present or suspected, please refer the patient to the emergency department (via ambulance if necessary) or seek emergent medical advice if in a remote region.

  • trauma

For clinical advice, please telephone the relevant metropolitan Local Health Network switchboard and ask to speak to the relevant specialty service.

Central Adelaide Local Health Network

Northern Adelaide Local Health Network

Southern Adelaide Local Health Network

Category 1 — appointment clinically indicated within 30 days

  • nil

Category 2 — appointment clinically indicated within 90 days

  • persistent daily discharge despite treatment and disabling pain and/or hearing loss significantly limiting quality of life, education and work

Category 3 — appointment clinically indicated within 365 days

  • tympanic membrane perforations
  • recurrent episodes of discharging ear

For information on referral forms and how to import them, please view general referral information.

Essential referral information

Completion required before first appointment to ensure patients are ready for care. Please indicate in the referral if the patient is unable to access mandatory tests or investigations as they incur a cost or are unavailable locally.

  • identifies as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
  • relevant social history, including identifying if you feel your patient is from a vulnerable population and/or requires a third party to receive correspondence on their behalf
  • interpreter requirements
  • history of presenting complaint including duration length and symptoms
  • details of previous medical management including:
    • systemic and topical medications prescribed
    • duration and outcome of the treatment
  • ear microscopy, culture and sensitivity (MCS) results if discharge from the ear(s) is present
  • diagnostic audiology report
  • people who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander

Additional information to assist triage categorisation

Health assessment for people identifying as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander

Clinical management advice

  • medical management:
    • ear discharge present - swab for microscopy, culture and sensitivity (MCS)
    • do not irrigate (ear) and keep dry
    • for perforated ear drum apply topical quinolone (e.g. ciprofloxacin)
    • Tragal Pump Technique (PDF 332KB)
    • analgesia as required
  • review after 4 weeks by General Practitioner
  • arrange diagnostic audiological assessment

Consumer resources