Rheumatology (Adult) Referral Access Criteria

Patient requires immediate (within 7 days) attention
Immediate referrals (patient to be seen within 7 days) should be sent directly to the relevant hospital. Do not send immediate referrals via Central Referral Service (CRS).
Contact the on-call registrar or service to arrange an immediate rheumatology assessment for:
  • Acute, otherwise unexplained, monoarthritis
  • Acute, otherwise unexplained, polyarthritis
  • Patients with a previously diagnosed condition who are acutely unwell e.g.:
    • Chronic idiopathic arthritis (inflammatory arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, axial spondylitis)
    • System lupus erythematosus, myopathies, scleroderma
    • Necrotising vasculitis (anti-neutrophilic cytoplasmic autoantibody-associated vasculitis)
    • Patients on biological agents
  • Giant cell arteritis where the patient meets the following criteria:
    • Age >50
    • Suspected giant cell arteritis e.g. new headache, jaw claudication, scalp sensitivity, tenderness over the temporal arteries, fevers, visual disturbance
    • No other diagnosis is more likely
To contact the relevant services, see HealthPathways: Acute Rheumatology Assessment (external site)
Rheumatology (adult) conditions with Referral Access Criteria

These conditions are routinely seen by rheumatology (adult) outpatient services. This is not an exhaustive list of all conditions seen by the outpatient service. Consideration for referral will not be excluded unless the condition is listed on the exclusion list. If the condition you are referring for is not listed, or is unknown, please include details in the body of the referral.

Referrals missing 'mandatory information' with no explanation provided may not be accepted.

Excluded conditions and services


Referrals to the Rheumatology (adult) outpatient services are not routinely accepted for the following conditions:

Excluded condition Details
Chronic fatigue syndrome
  •  Refer to general medicine/pain specialist
Chronic pain
Ehlers-Danlos syndrome or hypermobility spectrum disorder
  • Refer to relevant specialty whose symptoms predominate (i.e. pain specialist/orthopaedics/gastroenterology/vascular surgery, depending on symptoms)
  • See HealthPathways: Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (external site)
  • Refer to orthopaedics if requiring surgical management
  • Refer to pain medicine if not requiring surgical management
  • See HealthPathways: Osteoarthritis (external site)

Excluded elective procedures

All elective procedures must meet an identified clinical need to improve the health of the patient. Procedures are not to be performed for cosmetic or other non-medical reasons. Excluded procedures will not be performed unless under exceptional circumstances and where a clear clinical need has been identified. For excluded procedures, the referral must clearly state:

  • that the request is for an excluded procedure
  • the clinical exception reason as to why it should be considered.

Access the WA Elective Surgery Access and Waiting List Management Policy at WA Health Policy Frameworks.

Excluded procedure Clinical exception reason
Last reviewed: 18-03-2024