About the Central Referral Service

On 24 February 2014 the Department of Health launched its new Central Referral Service (CRS).

The service was introduced to better manage external referrals for patients requiring a first specialist outpatient appointment within the public health system.

The CRS – which has been endorsed by the Minister for Health and the Department – represents a fundamental change to the way in which referrers currently refer their patients to initial specialist outpatient appointments.

Benefits of the CRS

The CRS will provide a coordinated and sustainable model for outpatient referral management across the health system. This will help patients to receive care within a clinically-appropriate timeframe, and in the most suitable location.

To refer a patient, referrers will need to complete one of the standardised referral forms and send it to the CRS.

Experienced nurses will then allocate the referral to the most appropriate hospital for each patient based on:

  • location
  • speciality
  • level of health service required.

The CRS aims to produce benefits for referrers and their patients, including:

  • improved patient access and reduced patient delays
  • standardised, streamlined referral process with increasing electronic functionality over time
  • allocation of patients to the most appropriate hospital – taking into account considerations listed above as well as demand measures across the system
  • improved tracking, auditing and reporting of referrals so that referrers and their patients will be better informed about the progress of the referral
  • an enhanced level of information available to referrers at the point of referral.

The CRS is not suitable for all patients

The CRS does not accept or process referrals for patients who require immediate review (within the next 7 days).

These urgent referrals need to be sent directly to the relevant hospital.

In addition, the CRS should not be used for patients referred to:

  • a private specialist
  • mental health services
  • rural outpatient services
  • allied health outpatient services
  • non-doctor led outpatient services.


More information

Central Referral Service

  • Phone: 1300 551 142
  • Fax: 1300 365 056
  • Email the CRS 
  • Healthlink Secure Messaging: crefserv
  • Postal address:
    PO Box 3462
    Midland WA 6056
Produced by

Clinical Support Directorate