Central Referral Service guide for referrers

This online guide takes referrers through the 6 step process to complete a successful outpatient referral.

The Information for referrers guide (PDF 128KB) or Word 93KB is also available for download.

Ear, nose and throat from General Practitioners

From 1 July 2017 ENT inclusion/exclusion criteria for non-urgent referrals from GPs to specialist services in WA will be strengthened for the following conditions:

To ensure patients access timely care and appropriate management of their conditions WA ENT specialist services will accept only referrals suitable for specialist care outlined on the ear, nose and throat non-urgent referrals from General Practitioners guidelines.

Referrals will continue to be submitted to the Central Referral Service using the referral forms.

Referrals for patients who do not meet the criteria will be returned for ongoing management in the community until the condition is appropriate for specialist services.

Colonoscopy and gastroscopy procedure requests

From 20th January 2017 all colonoscopy and gastroscopy procedure requests to metropolitan public hospitals are to be submitted to the Central Referral Service. Referral forms are available here.

Referral guidelines have also been developed to assist in identifying patients with strong clinical indications for colonoscopy/gastroscopy and to define the access criteria for public gastrointestinal endoscopy services.

Referrals not meeting these criteria (as determined by the triaging clinician) will not be accepted.

More information on requests for direct access colonoscopy and gastroscopy services can be accessed here.

Step 1: Decide whether you need to refer through the CRS

The Central Referral Service (CRS) has been set up to allocate referrals for a first outpatient appointment with a specialist at a clinic within a public metropolitan hospital.

If this is a subsequent outpatient referral; continue to send your referral directly to the specialist.

Which referrals are accepted?

The CRS accepts referrals for more than 40 doctor-led specialities.

Once you have established the doctor-led specialty is included you can submit a referral using the CRS.

Which referrals are not accepted?

The CRS does not accept or process referrals to:

  • a private specialist
  • mental health services
  • regional/country outpatient clinics
  • allied health outpatient services
  • non doctor-led outpatient services
  • Obstetrics.

Use your usual referral processes to refer outpatients to the above services.

Step 2: Download referral form

To begin, you need to complete one of the standardised referral forms and sent it on to the CRS.

Step 3: For immediate referrals, contact specialist directly

If a patient needs to be seen by the specialist within 7 days this is considered an immediate referral.

Immediate referrals require you to contact the specialty senior clinician or clinic staff at the nearest tertiary hospital by telephone to arrange an appropriately timed presentation.

Following your telephone discussion, you should complete a referral form clearly indicating Immediate and include the:

  • name of the clinician or clinical staff member you spoke with
  • name of the hospital
  • contact telephone number of the clinician or clinical staff member you spoke with
  • details of the telephone clinical advice on the referral.

The referral should be forwarded directly to the relevant hospital (usually by fax to the department/clinic as directed) to be available for the initial outpatient appointment.

Step 4: Complete the referral

To ensure that patients are directed to the most appropriate level and place of care in a timely manner, WA Health has minimum standards for outpatient referrals.

These standards are reflected in the referral template. If you are not using a WA Health referral form you must still satisfy the minimum standards for outpatients referrals.

Please note that a failure to comply with the above requirements will result in the referral being returned to you for completion.

Please note that referrers should also be considering the Clinical Priority Access Criteria (CPAC) (external site) in decision-making around referrals.

Step 5: Send the referral

The CRS prefers receiving referral forms by secure messaging and fax.

However we will also, where necessary, accept referrals by post.

Once a referral is faxed or sent via secure messaging, there is no requirement to send the original by post as our system tracks the referral through to acceptance by the hospital.

Central Referral Service

  • Healthlink Secure Messaging: crefserv
  • Fax: 1300 365 056
  • Postal address: PO Box 3462, Midland WA 6056

Step 6: Acknowledgment receipt

When the CRS receives your referral you will be sent an automatic referral acknowledgement by fax or secure messaging from the CRS.

The CRS will then allocate your referral to the most appropriate hospital as soon as possible.

Once the hospital accepts the referral, both you and your patient will receive a notification of which site has accepted the referral.

You will receive a fax/secure message/letter and your patient will receive an SMS. If the patient does not have a mobile number, a letter will be sent instead.

The hospital site will then contact the patient to arrange an appointment closer to the required appointment date.

Once you have received notification that the referral has been accepted by the site, all further communication about the referral should be directed to that site.

Produced by

Clinical Support Directorate