Referring Patients

Emergency Department

Patients requiring emergency medical attention should be referred directly to the emergency department at SCGH. GPs are requested to provide relevant clinical information in a letter given to the patient. Sometimes, for complex patients, a supporting phone call may provide additional assistance for the receiving team. Contact can be made through SCGH switchboard on (08) 6457 3333 and ask to speak with the ED duty consultant.

Or by calling the Emergency Department Duty Consultant Admitting Line Phone: (08) 6457 4266 Fax: (08) 6457 2620

Referrals

Patients requiring ‘immediate’ review (within seven days)

If you think the patient requires immediate review (within seven days) then you should contact the Registrar of the relevant specialty – if they agree the patient needs immediate review then you can fax your referral direct to SCGH to the number the Registrar gives you (SCGH does not currently have a central fax but this will be developed in the near future).

Queries

If doctors have any queries regarding referral requirements, please contact the Central Referral Service on 1300 551 142. For queries regarding an “immediate” referral (requiring treatment within seven days) contact the Registrar or Consultant of the relevant specialty.

Non-Urgent referrals

In general, most routine referrals should be sent to the Central Referral Service (CRS) (external site).

However, the following services are outside the scope of the Central Referral Service and should be sent directly to the health provider. These referrals should NOT be sent to the Central Referral Service:

  • Referrals for patients who require immediate review (within next seven days)
  • Referrals to a private specialist
  • Referrals to Mental Health Services
  • Referrals to rural outpatient services
  • Referrals to Allied Health outpatient services
  • Referrals for obstetric clinics
  • Referrals to non-Doctor led outpatient services (e.g. nurse led clinics)
  • Re-referrals for the same problem (should be sent direct to the hospital where the patient was originally seen)

How to refer to CRS

Referrals to CRS should be made by a doctor or nurse practitioner – do not give the referral to the patient to send to CRS. Referrals may be sent to CRS electronically (preferred), by fax, or by mail.

Healthlink Secure Messaging: ‘crefserv’

Fax: 1300 365 056

Post: PO Box 3462, Midland WA 6056

Outpatient Referral Content

Referrals to specialist outpatient services must be in writing (eg. letter, facsimile, electronic file) and include the following information:

  • The patient’s full name (or alias) and where appropriate (eg. for a minor) the name of the parent or caregiver.
  • The patient’s address.
  • The patient’s telephone number (home and mobile).
  • The patient’s date of birth.
  • Next of Kin / carer / guardian / local contact for paediatric referrals.
  • Hospital Unit Medical Record Number (UMRN) and Medicare number (if known).
  • Sufficient clinical information to allow appropriate triage of the referral. This should include GP diagnosis, presenting symptoms, physical findings, past history including details of previous treatment, and investigations (photocopied results). Where appropriate include details of facility where previous treatment has been provided, including date.
  • Details of current medications and any drug allergies (including reaction to anaesthetics).
  • Date of referral, details of referring doctor and GP details if different from the referring doctor and the name of the doctors/ clinic to which the patient is being referred.
  • Interpreter requirements.
  • Patient height and weight or BMI

Referrals which do not contain sufficient information to allow accurate grading of the priority of the referral will be returned to the referring doctor.

Referral form templates (external site) can be downloaded into practice software for GP use.

Referrals written on a Practice Letterhead will also be accepted on the proviso that they contain minimum referral criteria as outlined above.

Frequently asked questions about the Central Referral Service

After a referral is received by CRS the postcode catchment area for the patient is identified (closest site to their home). The services available at that site are reviewed to determine if it is suitable for the patient’s presenting problem and their past medical history. Review of previous presentations across hospitals is taken into account in determining where is best suited to the patient’s requirements. Allocation is determined and the referral sent to that site for triaging.  Sometimes the clinician on triaging at that site may decide another site is more appropriate for this particular issue and send it back to CRS with a comment as such. These comments are used to redirect the referral to the suggested site.

The referring doctor receives a fax from CRS informing them when a referral has been received by CRS, and when accepted by a site, and the patient receives a SMS or letter when the referral is accepted by a site.

”Immediate” referrals (patients needing immediate review within seven days) should be sent direct by the referring GP or Specialist to the hospital clinic after they have spoken with the clinic Registrar or Consultant.  This includes acute fractures.

“Immediate” referrals should not be sent to CRS.

No. A Referral should only be sent to CRS or a hospital clinic, not both.  Only “immediate” referrals or those that are “out of scope” (see later paragraph) should be sent direct to a hospital clinic.

Yes. All referrals to a named specialist are sent by CRS to the clinic where the specialist works.  Note in some instances the specialist no longer works at a clinic, or the clinic will decide review by another hospital’s clinic is more appropriate. In this case the hospital will return the referral to CRS who will redirect it to another clinic.

Yes. In general, referrals are directed to the clinic nearest to where the patient lives. Exceptions to this include referral s to a named specialist at a different hospital, where the treatment required is only available at another hospital, where the referring doctor gives good reason in the referral as to why a patient should be seen at another hospital e.g. a long standing patient of another hospital, or country patient with support close to a particular hospital, transport issues. It is up to the hospital site to accept or reject the referral. CRS may also redirect referrals if a new service opens, or if an existing service identifies they have too long a waitlist.

Last Updated: 16/09/2019