General referral information for specialist outpatient services ensures patients referred are clinically

  • to establish a diagnosis
  • for treatment or intervention
  • for advice and management
  • for specialist to take over management
  • for a specified test/investigation the General Practitioner cannot order
  • for other reason (e.g. rapidly accelerating disease progression)
  • transfer of care from another tertiary service
  • clinical judgement indicates a referral for specialist review is necessary.

  • Triage of a specialist outpatient referral is based on clinical decision making to allocate an appropriate urgency categorisation.
  • Where appropriate and where available, the referral may be streamed to an associated public allied health and/or nursing service.  Access to some specific services may include initial assessment and management by associated public allied health and/or nursing, which may either facilitate or negate the need to see the public medical specialist.
  • A change in patient circumstance (such as condition deteriorating or pregnancy) may affect the urgency categorisation and should be communicated as soon as possible.
  • All new referrals will be triaged by a consultant and appointment times scheduled according to clinical urgency.

Referrer to ensure the patient is aware of the referral and the reason for assessment. Inform the patient to:

  • take all relevant medications, information and documentation to appointments.
  • communicate clinical deterioration and/or relevant psycho-social issues that may support reassessment of referral categorisation.

  • Adolescents transitioning from paediatric to adult specialist services require a formal handover from paediatric specialist clinician to adult specialist clinician as well as a formal referral from the referring specialist to ensure initial transfer of care is completed.
  • The General Practitioners role in this process is to provide support to patients as part of holistic care. All ongoing referrals to specialists can subsequently be provided by the General Practitioner once the transfer of care has occurred.