Outpatient services

Outpatient appointments are made after acceptance and triage of referrals from General Practitioners (GP), Specialists or other clinicians or following inpatient discharge for ongoing care.

More information about outpatient services is available for patient and visitors.

The catchment map (PDF) outlines the suburb catchment areas for North Metropolitan Health Service (NMHS), including SCGH. SCGH is also the tertiary catchment site for a number of country areas.

Referral to a hospital for assessment and/or treatment is based around multiple criteria. These include:

  • Place of residence – tertiary hospitals have defined catchments to help provide patient care consistently and closer to home.
  • Hospital location of specialty services – some conditions need designated specialist services that are not available at all hospitals.
  • Patient health history and comorbidities – out of catchment patients with complex or extensive health history that are known to SCGH may be considered to support cohesive patient care.

Please use this information to guide referrals to the hospital servicing your patient's postcode, and inform your patients of these criteria when you are referring them for public hospital services via the Central Referral Service (more information below).

Named referrals are not routinely accepted for out of catchment patients unless clinically appropriate e.g. state-wide services only offered at SCGH, and the referral is accepted for the specialty, not the individual clinician.

Referrals to specialist outpatient services must be provided in writing for all patients. All referrals must include the following information:

  • The patient’s full name (or alias) and where appropriate (e.g. 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.
  • 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 and where available, BMI.

Referrals which do not contain sufficient information to allow accurate triaging of the priority of the referral will be returned to the referrer.

Immediate referrals can be sent via email, or by fax. CRS referrals are preferred via electronic file.

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.

Immediate referrals are those which are discussed with a speciality, accepted to be seen within seven days and sent direct to site.

All other referrals are clinically triaged as:

  • Urgent: Category 1 (0 – 30 days)
  • Semi-Urgent: Category 2 (31 – 90 days)
  • Routine: Category 3 (91 – 365 days)

Referrers are able to flag referrals sent through CRS as priority referrals when required, which will result in rapid review and triage.

Please note there are a number of specialities with waiting times outside of the triage categories. If you are concerned about a deteriorating patient, please consider contacting the speciality or sending an updated referral through CRS.

If you think the patient requires immediate review (to be seen within seven days) then you should contact the Registrar of the relevant specialty. If accepted for immediate review, send your written referral direct to SCGH either by email to the Single Point of Referral Team SPoRT@health.wa.gov.au or by fax to 6457 4159 unless otherwise directed by the Registrar.

Details of the accepting medical officer the patient has been discussed with must be included in the referral to prevent any delays in care.

The below services accept referrals sent direct to site, not through CRS:

  • Aged Care Assessment Team
  • Allied Health (Physio Student Clinic and Podiatry only)
  • Allied Health (Dietetics, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Social Work and Speech Pathology via SCGOPHCG Medical referral only)
  • Cancer Centre (including Radiation Oncology, Haematology and Medical Oncology)
  • Diagnostic/procedure requests, including Nuclear Medicine
  • Mental Health
  • Neurological Intervention andImaging Service of WA (NIISwa)
  • Palliative Care
  • Pulmonary Physiology and Sleep
  • Specialist Nurse Clinics
  • State Head Injury Unit

The WA Health Central Referral Service (external site) commenced in 2014. As of this date, all non-immediate (see above) GP referrals to doctor-led outpatient clinics at SCGOPHCG should be sent to the Central Referral Service. Referrals sent direct to site will be returned to the referrer to ensure a consistent referral pathway unless otherwise directed.

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
Email: centralreferralservice@health.wa.gov.au
MMEx Secure Messaging: central@mmex.gsmhn.com.au
Post: PO Box 3462, Midland WA 6056

Patients are welcome to bring a carer or family member with them to outpatient appointments. If there is a need to liaise directly with the patient’s carer or relatives for clinical reasons, please ensure this is listed on the referral and their details provided.

If General Practitioners or private specialists have any queries regarding referral requirements, please contact the Central Referral Service on 1300 551 142.

For queries regarding an immediate referral (see within seven days) contact the Registrar or Consultant of the relevant specialty through the SCGH switchboard on (08) 6457 3333

Interhospital referrals (hospital to hospital) are accepted solely via eReferrals. The only exception to this are the following services:

  • WACHS (WA Country Health Service)
  • JHC (Joondalup Health Campus)
  • SJOGM (St John of God Midland)
  • Private hospitals.

These excepted services can send referrals either by email to the Single Point of Referral Team SPoRT@health.wa.gov.au, by fax to 6457 4159 or as directed by the speciality.

How does CRS process referrals?

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.


Where "immediate" referrals should be sent to?

”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.


Should referrals be sent to both CRS and the hospital clinic?

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.


Does CRS allow referral to a named specialist?

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.


Can CRS allocate referrals to a hospital even if the patient lives outside that hospital catchment area?

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: 18/09/2020