Referral Access Criteria

The Department of Health has developed Referral Access Criteria (RAC) to assist clinicians referring to public outpatient services in Western Australia (WA). They outline the clinical criteria for referrals to public outpatient specialist services and have been developed to maximise the value of a patient's first appointment and ensure accurate triage of referrals. RAC provide referring practitioners with:

  • the mandatory history, examinations and investigations required for referrals to be accepted
  • examples of presenting issues to support clinicians decide whether the patient should be referred to outpatient services
  • indicative triage categories for when the patient may be seen.

Specialties with mandatory RAC in place

Referrals missing 'mandatory information' with no explanation provided may not be accepted. CRS will notify the referring practitioner of any referrals that are missing mandatory information. Explanation for missing information must be included in the body of the referral.

RAC soon to be mandated

These RAC will become mandatory soon. They are ready for use by referring practitioners to support clinical triage and maximise the value of a patient's first appointment. WA Health will not enforce the criteria in these RAC until they are mandated.

Referrals to in-scope WA public outpatient specialties should be submitted via Central Referral Service (CRS).

CRS will allocate referrals to the appropriate hospital. Clinical triaging will be the responsibility of the hospital receiving the referral.

If there is no RAC in place for a specialty, referrals must still meet the minimum requirements for WA outpatient referrals.

RAC development process

RAC have been developed by clinical working groups comprising of Hospital Specialist Heads of Departments, Consultants and General Practitioners. They have been developed to:

  • improve patient preparedness for their first public specialist outpatient appointment
  • standardise the referral process and triage criteria to increase consistency across WA public outpatient services
  • ensure public specialist outpatient clinics have the right information to assess and accurately triage the referral
  • ensure patients do not wait unnecessarily on outpatient waitlists.
Last reviewed: 18-03-2024