New patient resources for urgent and non-urgent outpatient referrals to public hospitals

Patients do not routinely receive written information about what happens to their referral to a public hospital after it is sent by their GP.  It can also be difficult for patients, carers and clinicians to find out who to contact within the hospital system to update their details, or to change or cancel an appointment.

Urgent and non-urgent referral information sheets have been developed by HealthPathways WA in collaboration with Hospital Liaison GPs, Central Referral Service (CRS), Outpatient Direct and Outpatient Departments in metropolitan Public Hospitals. Feedback during the development was provided by GPs and consumers.

Patient information sheet for non-urgent referrals to Perth metropolitan public hospitals via Central Referral Service

This information sheet details what communication to expect from CRS and what to do if this communication is not received. It advises patients that appointment information will be sent by letter about one month prior to their appointment.   It also provides specific numbers for patients to call to update their legal or preferred name, title, contact details, gender and next of kin.

There is advice to patients about what to do if their condition changes or worsens prior to being seen in the outpatient clinic and what to do if they no longer need their appointment. It provides information on other referral options that the patient may wish to consider, if the wait is longer than expected.

Patient information sheet for urgent outpatient referrals

This information sheet does not include specific hospital information. It can be printed on a practice letterhead and completed by hand or electronically.

If an appointment has already been made, the information sheet has a space for the appointment and a section for the GP to complete to advise the patient what to do if their condition deteriorates.

If an appointment has not been made but an urgent referral has been sent, it provides a space for the GP to document their expectations of when the hospital will contact the patient and a timeframe during which they expect the patient to be seen. There space for the GP to write what the patient should do if they are not contacted or seen during the expected timeframe, or if their condition worsens.

How to access the information sheets, 

The Patient information sheet for non-urgent referrals to Perth metropolitan public hospitals and Patient information sheet for urgent outpatient referrals is available from the Central Referral Service on the HealthPathways WA website.

If you have any feedback about the patient information sheets, please send an email to or click on the ‘send feedback’ button on the HealthPathways WA website.

Dr Irene Dolan
GP Clinical Editor, HealthPathways WA

Read this and more the May edition of GP Connect.