Orthopaedics – Fracture and Elective Orthopaedics

For Patients and Visitors:

What is the Orthopaedic Service?

The Northern Health Orthopaedic Service provides care for people with conditions affecting joints and bones of the upper and lower limbs. This may be in an emergency setting, such as fracture following a fall, or for a long-standing condition such as osteoarthritis of the knee.

Patients are seen and treated at both Northern Hospital Epping and Broadmeadows Hospital.

How to receive an appointment in this service

A referral is required. If the matter is urgent, access the Virtual ED (www.vved.org.au) or present to the Emergency Department at the Northern Hospital.

If the matter is less urgent, you can be assessed and get a referral from

What can I expect from the service?

As a patient you can expect to be fully assessed, and any tests needed are arranged. A decision is then made as to whether surgery is required, or non-surgical treatment such as physiotherapy.

Patients with a new fracture or injury are usually contacted by the fracture clinic for a face to face or virtual appointment within a week of receiving a referral. From here, surgery, plastering or other treatments can be arranged as necessary.

Most long-term conditions such as osteoarthritis or shoulder pain are seen first by a physiotherapist in a screening clinic or the OsteoArthritis Hip and Knee Service (OAHKS) who will do a thorough assessment and discuss a management plan with you, which may include surgery, non-surgical treatment, or further investigation as required.

A care plan will be made during your clinic appointment. This will be communicated with your GP either via a letter, or by being given a copy of your patient notes.

If you do require surgery, the appropriate paperwork will be completed. Following your surgery you will be followed up in the Clinic until your recovery is complete.

If you do not require surgery, this information and any treatment required will be communicated to your GP.

Virtual Fracture Clinic

Many fractures and broken bones can be managed safely without review in the orthopaedic clinic. If you are referred to the fracture clinic, your injury and x-rays will be reviewed by a member of the orthopaedic team and the best management will be determined.

You will be contacted by a member of the orthopaedic team (including physiotherapy and nursing) within one week of your ED visit to explain the management plan for your condition.

The brochures below can help you manage your condition in conjunction with your healthcare professional.

Orthopaedics – Clavicle Fracture
Orthopaedics – Proximal Humerus Fracture
Orthopaedics – Humerus Greater Tubercle Fracture
Orthopaedics – Elbow Radial head and neck fracture
Orthopaedics – Distal Radius Fracture
Orthopaedics – Carpal Fracture
Orthopaedics – Ankle (Weber A) Fracture
Orthopaedics – Ankle and Foot Avulsion Fracture
Orthopaedics – Base 5th metatarsal fracture
Orthopaedics – Metatarsal Fractures
Orthopaedics – Toe fracture

For children’s fractures we use the Royal Children’s Hospital handout below:

RCH Buckle fractures – parent handout

The brochures below can help you with the splint you have been provided with.

Orthopaedics – Wrist hand brace Virtual fracture clinic
Orthopaedics – Cam Walker Virtual Fracture Clinic
Orthopaedics – Rigid sole shoe Virtual fracture clinic

What do I bring/need for my appointment?

  • It is important to bring along any Xrays or Scans if they were arranged by your GP; any Xrays or other tests done within the hospital will be available for the doctor to see
  • A list of current medications
  • Any information you may have relating to previous treatment of your condition
  • Medicare Card

Contact Us

Phone:      8405 8335

Email:       SpecialistClinics@nh.org.au

For Health Professionals:

Service Overview

The Northern Hospital Orthopaedic Service provides care for both acute or traumatic conditions such as recent fractures, via the fracture clinic, and for longstanding or chronic conditions via the orthopaedic clinic.

When a patient has been assessed and surgery deemed necessary, this is organised via the outpatient clinic. Some patients will require further investigation or pre-admission assessment, prior to surgery.

Many patients referred do not require, or do not wish to have, surgery. In this case we aim to provide a detailed summary outlining any treatment required such as physiotherapy or bracing so that care can continue in the Community.

Outpatient Referral Guidelines

The Department of Health and Human Services has developed Statewide referral criteria to assist GPs and clinicians referring patients to Specialist Clinics. These referral criteria have been developed to improve access to Specialist Clinics in public hospitals by improving the quality and appropriateness of referrals.

Exclusion criteria for referral:

(Services not offered by Northern Health Orthopaedics Service)

  • Neck pain, back pain and radiculopathy – refer to Northern Health Orthopaedic Spinal Service
  • Soft tissue conditions of the hand – Dupuytren’s contracture, tenosynovitis, ganglia – refer to Northern Health Plastic Surgery Service
  • Hand fractures (distal row of carpals and beyond) – refer to Northern Health Plastic Surgery Service
  • Primary bone or soft tissue tumours – refer to St. Vincent’s Health
  • Paediatrics clubfoot/calcaneo valgus foot/flat feet / intoeing/ perthes/SUFE – refer to Royal Children’s Hospital

Fracture Clinic:

Most simple, minimally displaced fractures are managed via the Virtual Fracture Clinic. Current fractures that can be diverted include:

  • Clavicle fractures
  • Shoulder – proximal humerus (surgical neck) and greater tuberosity fractures
  • Elbow – radial head and neck fractures
  • Wrist – Distal radius, other carpal (triquetral and/or hamate)
  • Ankle Weber A fractures
  • Ankle and midfoot avulsion fractures
  • Foot – Metatarsal and base 5th metatarsal fractures
  • Toe fractures

Adult virtual fracture management guidelines available here

Paediatric fractures are managed using RCH guidelines

Patients will receive the relevant handout in the emergency department, and a phone call from a member of the Virtual Fracture Clinic team within the following week.

How to refer:

Please follow the instructions on the link: Referrals to Specialist Clinics

For detailed referral criteria and required supporting information please see HealthPathways Melbourne via the link below:

HealthPathways Melbourne – Paediatric orthopaedic referrals

HealthPathways Melbourne – Adult orthopaedic referrals

Director/Head of Unit

Dr Juliette Gentle

Alternative service options

Sports / Soft Tissue Injury Clinic – via same referral process

Paediatrics – Clubfoot/Calcaneo Valgus Foot/Flat Feet / Intoeing/ Perthes/SUFE/ synovitis hip – refer to Royal Children’s Hospital

Soft Tissue conditions of the Hand – Dupuytren’s contracture, tenosynovitis, ganglia – refer to Plastic Surgery Unit

Primary Bone or Soft Tissue Tumours – refer to St Vincent’s Health

Health Professional Enquiries:

Contact: Orthopaedic Registrar via Northern Health switchboard – 8405 8000