Guide for referring to WA public outpatient services

Steps for referring practitioners when completing referrals to WA public outpatient services.

If the referral does not meet the criteria for the Central Referral Service (CRS), referrals should be sent directly to the specialist outpatient service at the relevant site.

1. Check if the referral meets the criteria for referring through CRS
Criteria What to do if criteria is not met
The referral is for a patient’s first specialist outpatient appointment. If this is a subsequent referral, send the referral directly to the specialist outpatient service.
The referral is for an in-scope specialty and site. If the referral is for an out-of-scope speciality, service or site, send directly to the specialist outpatient service.
The patient does not require immediate (within 7 days) review. For immediate referrals, contact the specialty outpatient service at the relevant site directly and send the referral directly to the site. The referral should clearly indicate it is immediate and include:
  • Name and contact number of clinician or clinical staff you spoke with
  • Site name
  • Details of verbal clinical advice received.
2. Access the CRS referral form

You should access the standardised referral form template for your practice software.

If your practice software is not included as one of the compatible referral form templates, you can download the form to complete electronically or print and complete by hand. Note: CRS prefer that referrals are not handwritten.

3. Complete the referral

The referral must meet WA public outpatient referral requirements. Additionally, some specialties have implemented mandatory Referral Access Criteria (RAC).

If the referral does not meet these requirements or does not include an explanation for the missing information, your referral may not be accepted. You may need to submit a new referral that meets the requirements.

4. Send the referral to CRS

CRS prefer referrals to be sent by secure messaging, but also accepts referrals sent by fax or post. CRS request post is used as a last resort due to delayed referral receipt and potential issues with reliability.

Method Contact details
Secure messaging
Fax 1300 365 056
Post GPO Box 2566, St Georges Terrace, WA 6831

Emailed referrals are not accepted.

If you are experiencing problems with secure messaging, you should check that you have the latest version of your practice software installed or contact your practice software and secure messaging provider directly. Alternatively, you can send the referral via fax or post.

5. Receive notification that CRS has allocated your referral to a hospital site

CRS will review and process the referral against WA Health minimum referral requirements and specialty-led mandatory Referral Access Criteria (RAC).

You will receive notification once your referral has been allocated to a hospital site via the same method in which you submitted it (e.g. if you submitted your referral via secure messaging, notification of referral allocation will be sent back to you via secure messaging. Please note this is not confirmation that your referral has been accepted by an outpatient service.

Referrals will be allocated to the most appropriate hospital site based on:

  • location
  • specialty
  • level of health service required.

While it is preferable for patients to be seen at a site close to home, there may be circumstances when this may not occur. This may be for a variety of reasons, including the patients need for a state-wide service, clinical need, previous or future episodes of care, or site capacity.

If the referral does not meet the minimum referral requirements or mandatory Referral Access Criteria (RAC), and explanation for missing information is not included in the referral, it will be returned to you via the method you submitted it. You may need to submit a new referral with additional information.

6. Hospital site clinically triages referral and allocates patient appointment

Clinical triaging and appointment allocation is the responsibility of the hospital site. Triage is not completed by CRS.

Once the site accepts the referral, both you and your patient will receive a notification of which site has accepted the referral. You will be notified by the same method you submitted the referral (e.g. if you submitted your referral via secure messaging, notification of referral acceptance will be sent back to you via secure messaging), and your patient will be notified by SMS. If your patient does not have a mobile number, they will receive a letter.

After this notification, all further communication from you or your patient about the referral should be directed to that site.

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

All enquiries relating to outpatient appointments should be directed to the hospital site that has accepted the referral. Patients can contact Outpatient Direct to obtain information about their appointments at certain specialties/clinics.

If the referral is not accepted by the outpatient specialty, you will receive a notification from either the hospital site or CRS outlining the reason.

Last reviewed: 18-03-2024