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.

  • suspected trauma/trauma
  • suspected spinal/cervical spine injury

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

Southern Adelaide Local Health Network

Category 1 - appointment clinically indicated within 30 days

  • brachial plexus injury – delayed presentation

Category 2 — appointment clinically indicated within 90 days

  • nil

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
  • past medical/surgical history
  • current medications and dosages
  • allergies and sensitivities
  • smoking/vaping status
  • presenting symptoms
  • management history including:
    • trauma/injury if relevant
    • onset and duration
    • pain/discomfort
    • severity of symptoms
    • associated features, e.g. functional impairment, range of motion (ROM)
    • impact on activities of daily living/ability to care for others
    • treatments trialled/implemented prior to referral
  • shoulder and neck: anterior-posterior (AP)/lateral and odontoid X-Ray
  • relevant investigations and reports, include provider details and accession number

Clinical management advice

Brachial plexus injuries are commonly associated with cervical spine injuries and head trauma. Most patients with a brachial plexus injury will require assessment in the Emergency Department. This guidance is for patients who have been discharged following an acute admission and are seeing their General Practitioner for ongoing management and assessment.

It is strongly recommended that people who smoke or vape stop 3 months prior to consultation. Smoking/vaping is associated with delayed healing (this should not delay a referral from being made). Please refer to useful resources section for further information.

If the patient requires urgent attention and/or fulfils category 1 triage criteria, please contact the on-call registrar to discuss and ensure your referral has been received.

Clinical resources

Consumer resources