Outpatient Referral Guidelines
To ensure your patient can be prioritised appropriately to the outpatient waiting list it is important that you follow the GP Referral Guidelines.
For Other Departments
prerequisite tests are found in the GP referral templates for your practice software program.
You can find the most up to date Specialist Outpatient Referral Templates
to Gold Coast Health here.
GP Referrals must clearly indicate (as a minimum):
- the name of specialist/clinician you are referring to
- the reason for the referral
- all relevant history relating to the presenting problem
- appropriate examination findings
- pre-requisite tests/investigations (as specified on the GP Referral Templates or referral guidelines)
Incomplete referrals can often not be safely triaged and may be sent back to you & your patient if the specialist is unclear about how to prioritise your patient based on the information provided.
Sending Outpatient Referrals
Secure electronic transmission of referrals sent via Medical Objects should now be the primary way to send referrals to GCUH. Over 70% of GPs on the Gold Coast are able to refer this way. Electronic referral provides the extra reassurance your referral has been received as a confirmation receipt is sent back to you.
Practices who have successfully met the requirements for eHealth PIP are now able to send referrals electronically to Gold Coast Health. There are three addresses now in the Address Book.
Please be careful to select the correct address.
Gold Coast Health clinicians triage all referrals that they receive for Specialist Outpatient appointments.
Clinical Prioritisation Criteria
There are existing guidelines, or guidelines are currently being developed, to ensure that referrals are triaged in a safe, equitable and consistent manner for all Specialist Outpatient services.
Where available, Gold Coast Health use the Clinical Prioritisation Criteria (CPC) that were developed, validated and approved for state-wide use in Queensland public hospitals. The criteria are applicable to a wide range of common and serious clinical conditions and problems for most specialties. Additional information about CPC is available at: https://cpc.health.qld.gov.au
The guidelines are applicable to all referrals, whether they are received from internal (i.e. from clinicians working in Gold Coast Health) or external sources (i.e. from general practitioners, private specialists or other primary care providers). However, to be triaged, referrals need to:
- Relate to conditions or problems that are ‘in-scope’ for the public Specialist Service;
- Include sufficient clinical information and the prerequisite investigation results necessary to safely triage them; and
- Be most appropriate for that specialty, rather than a different Specialist Service.
Clinical priority categories
The classification of the clinical priority of appropriate referrals has three main categories, numbered one through three.
Referrals with the highest clinical priority are triaged as ‘category one’. Category one referrals should receive a specialist outpatient appointment within thirty (30 days) from the date they are received.
Referrals should be triaged as ‘category one’ if they are for conditions or problems that: have the potential to require more complex or emergency care if their assessments are delayed; and/or they may adversely affect patients’ quality of life.
Category two referrals should receive specialist outpatient appointments within ninety (90) days from the date they are received.
Referrals should be triaged as ‘category two’ if they are for conditions or problems that: have the potential to require more complex or emergency care if their assessments are delayed for longer; and/or they may adversely affect patients’ quality of life if the assessment is delayed for longer.
Category three referrals should receive specialist outpatient appointments within one year (365 days) from the date they are received.
Referrals should be triaged as ‘category three’ if they are for conditions or problems that are unlikely to progressively deteriorate and the management is unlikely to be complicated through the delay.