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.

  • compound hand fractures and dislocations
  • hand fractures with significant angulation/rotation
  • irreducible finger dislocations
  • tendon, nerve, arterial injuries
  • partial or complete amputations
  • nail bed injuries
  • ruptured/lacerated tendon
  • acute ligament laceration
  • skin laceration with suspected underlying structural damage
  • injury associated with vascular compromise

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

Women's and Children's Health Network

Category 1 - appointment clinically indicated within 30 days

  • hand fractures not requiring emergency presentation
  • delayed presentation hand fractures

Category 2 — appointment clinically indicated within 90 days

  • hand fractures not requiring emergency presentation
  • delayed presentation hand fractures

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
  • identify within your referral if you feel your patient is from a vulnerable population, under guardianship/out-of-home care arrangements and/or requires a third party to receive correspondence on their behalf
  • interpreter requirements
  • child/parents demographic information including best contact details
  • past medical/surgical history
  • current medications and dosages
  • allergies and sensitivities
  • presenting symptoms
  • management history including:
    • onset and duration
    • severity
    • pain
    • associated features, e.g. swelling and/or instability, range of motion
    • treatments trialled/implemented prior to referral
    • use of immobiliser/splint/cast
  • neurovascular assessment (emergency presentations and category 1)
  • plain X-ray anterior-posterior (AP)/lateral include radiological details/accession number
  • ultrasound (US) where appropriate

Additional information to assist triage categorisation

  • photograph, including disposable measurement tool – with patient’s consent, where secure image transfer, identification and storage is possible
  • relevant reports and summaries from clinician involvement in medical management

Clinical management advice

For scaphoid, foot, and all other limb fractures please consult with the orthopaedic service.

This is a guideline for outpatient referral only. If you have clinical concerns, please contact the Women’s and Children’s Hospital (WCH) Plastic and Reconstructive surgery service via switchboard on (08) 8161 7000.

Clinical resources