Referring Patients

Referring to 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.

In Australia, overseas visitors, overseas students and patients who are not eligible for Medicare under their current VISA arrangements are required to pay for the cost of their health care. Please contact your referred hospital Overseas Liaison Officer.

Referral catchment

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.

Outpatient referral content

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

  • 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.

Priority categories

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 Central Referral Service (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.

Immediate Referrals (to be seen within seven days)

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 or by fax to (08) 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.

Non-CRS referrals 

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

  • Aged Care Assessment Team
  • Allied Health
  • Cancer Centre (including Radiation Oncology, Haematology and Medical Oncology)
  • Diagnostic/procedure requests, including Nuclear Medicine
  • Mental Health
  • Neurological Intervention and Imaging Service of WA (NIISwa)
  • Palliative Care
  • Pulmonary Physiology and Sleep
  • Specialist Nurse Clinics
  • State Head Injury Unit

For more information and further contact details, visit the WA Health GP website (external site).

Central Referral Service

The WA Health Central Referral Service commenced in 2014. As of this date, all non-immediate GP referrals to doctor-led outpatient clinics within the North Metropolitan Health Service hospital network 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. 

Referrals to CRS should be made by a doctor or nurse practitioner – do not give the referral to the patient to send to CRS.

Health Central Referral Service (external site) 

Carers and Families 

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.

Contact Details

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 at the relevant hospital through the hospital switchboard.

Interhospital referrals

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, by fax to (08) 6457 4159 or as directed by the speciality.

Last Updated: 16/07/2024