Neurology referral criteria – Adult

Immediate neurology referrals

Immediate referrals (seen within 7 days) are not handled by the Central Referral Service (CRS).

Do not send immediate referrals via CRS – send referrals for patients requiring immediate review (within the next 7 days) directly to the relevant hospital.

Immediately contact the on-call registrar or service to arrange an immediate neurology assessment for:

  • Abnormal neurological exam with concerning features, including malignancy or neuroimaging (new onset headache)
  • Idiopathic intracranial hypertension 
  • Rapidly progressing cognitive changes (over weeks)
  • Severe/acute trigeminal neuralgia with inability to eat
  • Severe symptoms or abrupt onset/deterioration of movement disorder

To contact the relevant service, please see HealthPathways: Acute Neurology Assessment

Adult neurology conditions with Referral Access Criteria
Please note this is not an exhaustive list of all conditions for public adult neurology outpatient services and does not exclude consideration for referral unless specifically stipulated in the RAC excluded section
Excluded neurology services

Referral to public adult neurology outpatient services is not routinely accepted for the following conditions:

Condition Details (where applicable)
Acquired brain injury Excluded condition when the following features apply:
Botulinum therapy for chronic migraine
Certification of a patient’s ability to drive, for private standards, in the presence of a neurological condition Excluded condition except in the following circumstances:
Chronic headache where standard treatment has not been tried
Chronic low back pain, neck pain or radicular pain; chronic pain or non-specific pain syndromes
Chronic neurological conditions that are well controlled and do not require additional intervention (e.g. chronic epileptic patient on stable drug therapy and no seizures for 10 years)
Cognitive impairment > 65 years old
  • Refer to geriatric medicine or aged care as appropriate.
  • Patients whose primary and major diagnosis/symptomatology are alcohol, drug or psychiatry related, consider referral to alcohol and drug service or mental health service as first line.
  • See HealthPathways: Cognitive Impairment and Dementia
Distal symmetrical painful sensory neuropathy associated with diabetes or alcoholism Excluded condition when the following features apply:
  • Patients with long history of distal symmetrical painful sensory neuropathy associated with diabetes or alcoholism referred for pain management. Refer to pain management clinic. 
  • See HealthPathways: Neuropathic Pain
Lyme disease or Lyme-like illness
Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Neurological symptoms due to treatment non-adherence (e.g. seizures)  
Parkinson’s disease > 65 years old unless referred by specialist
Restless leg syndrome
Small‑fibre neuropathy previously diagnosed by a neurologist Excluded condition when the following features apply:
Seizures known to relate to drug/alcohol use
Sleep disorders
  • Refer to cardiology or general medicine.
Tremor of long duration or milder severity  
Uncomplicated Bell’s palsy Excluded condition for the following:
Vertigo with hearing loss
Worker's compensation and medico-legal cases
Last reviewed: 05-01-2024