For GPs

For GPs

Referring to Specialist Outpatient Clinics

Did you know?

  • NH operates around 400 clinics per week across its 4 sites which deliver over 200.000 occasions of service each year.
  • General practitioner referrals comprise 50% of referrals with the remainder coming from inpatient wards, Emergency and from within services.

Processing Referrals

Incoming referrals are reviewed at two points. The first review is a content check to ensure the referral contains adequate demographic information for the referral to be processed.

The referral then goes to clinical triage. Clinical triage is performed by senior medical, nursing and allied health staff as relevant to each clinic.

To ensure safe triage, referrals need to meet the minimum referral information requirements as detailed below:

Minimum Referral Information Requirements

  • Reason for referral 
  • Working diagnosis
  • Medical History – current and relevant past
  • Current medications
  • Relevant investigations and pathology (within 3 months)*
  • Current management of the condition and response to this.

*Please note that many clinics require specific tests, assessments or supporting diagnostics to be undertaken prior to the referral.

Please go to Specialist Clinics – Referral Information for a listing of all clinics.

If the referral fails to meet the minimum referral information requirements, it will be returned to the referring GP and the patient will be notified.

Appointment Notification/Management

At clinical triage the referral is assessed as either urgent or non urgent.

The goal is to offer urgent patients an appointment within 30 working days, however capacity to meet this goal is determined by demand for each specialty.

For referrals triaged as non urgent, patients will be contacted within 10 working days with either written notification of an appointment or advice that their referral has been added to an extended waiting list.

Waiting times on extended waiting lists vary but generally patients will wait many months for an appointment.

Referrers will be notified when a referral has been added to an extended wait list and patients will be advised to return to their G.P. should their condition change whilst they are waiting for an appointment.

If you have any concerns for example, the waiting times for your patients please contact the OP Nurse Liaison Desk on 8405 8837.

Want Help?

A Clinical Resource Nurse is available each week day between 8.30 – 4.00pm to discuss any referral enquiries. Contact phone: 8405 8837

Discussion of urgent referrals is encouraged and available via contact with the relevant Speciality Registrar. Registrars can be paged via the Northern Health main switchboard on 8405 5000.

Tools for referring

Victorian State-wide referral form (VSRF) to a named consultant

VSRF is an embedded template in the following applications:

  • Medical Director (MD3) – ‘letter writer/ supplied templates’
  • Best Practice - ‘supplied template’
  • Zed Med – go to and navigate to ‘clinical templates.' At the top is a link to document importing instructions; at the bottom a link to the VSRF
  • Genie – go to ‘create a referral letter’ icon which takes you to the Genie website and guides you through the download/ import process

Or it can be downloaded (VSRF) as a paper copy

Would you like further information?

Tell us what you think of the GP Access page. Feedback and comments are most welcome as these will inform quality improvement.
gpliaison | at |