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.

  • nil

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

  • confirmed head and neck malignancy
  • suspicious solid mass and/or cystic neck lumps > 6 weeks with any red flag symptoms including:
    • dysphonia
    • dysphagia
    • odynophagia
    • sore throat
  • unilateral otalgia

Category 2 — appointment clinically indicated within 90 days

  • benign masses confirmed by fine needle aspiration (FNA)/core biopsy

Category 3 — appointment clinically indicated within 365 days

  • nil

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
  • presence of red flags
  • smoking/vaping status - if active, strongly consider referral for smoking/vaping cessation
  • alcohol history
  • ultrasound (US) of the neck and thyroid
  • computerised tomography (CT) neck and upper chest (to carina) with contrast, including company and accession number
  • fine needle aspiration (FNA) of mass (ultrasound guided) if difficult to palpate
  • copies of relevant reports and results

Additional information to assist triage categorisation

  • complete blood examination (CBE)
  • urea, electrolytes and creatinine (UEC)
  • liver function tests (LFTs)
  • estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR)
  • erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)