Release two: public hospital referral criteria to launch 1 February

Release two: public hospital referral criteria to launch 1 February

Public specialist clinics to start assessing referrals against statewide specialist clinic referral criteria

08 January, 2020

Public specialist clinics across Victoria will start assessing referrals against the second batch of Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) statewide specialist clinic referral criteria from 1 February 2020.

Developed by DHHS, the second batch of criteria includes referrals for selected conditions in Neurology, Gynaecology and Gastroenterology, building on the statewide referral criteria launched last November for selected conditions in ENT, Vascular and Urology. 

What does this mean for GPs?

  • Designed by DHHS following consultation with Heads of Units or specialists from across Victoria, health service nursing and allied health clinicians, GPs and GP Liaison Officers, the referral criteria will make it easier for GPs to navigate referral requirements and suitability of access for their patients. 
  • The statewide referral criteria provide clear guidance to referring clinicians about which patients will be seen in adult public specialist clinics and what investigations are required to support triage. 
  • Referrals that do not meet the criteria will be declined and returned to the referrer. Referrers should receive a letter clearly stating why the referral has been declined from the health service.

What is the PHNs' role?

  • PHNs have been funded to support the adoption of the statewide referral criteria into primary health through inclusion within HealthPathways and online care pathways sites. 
  • PHNs are committed to supporting general practice with implementation of this new reform offering support to general practices who are unfamiliar with the new referral criteria and the HealthPathways platform.
  • PHNs are also using this opportunity to raise awareness of the need to improve communication from hospitals to GPs and patients, and are also advocating for the statewide referral criteria to be extended to include hospital discharge criteria. 

The new statewide referral criteria for Neurology, Gynaecology and Gastroenterology will be available on HealthPathways Melbourne, alongside related clinical and referral pathways from January. Alternatively, the statewide referral criteria can be viewed on the official DHHS website.

For more information about the statewide referral criteria and the requirements for General Practice, please visit the Victorian Tasmanian PHN Alliance website.

Statewide referral criteria for an additional five specialties; Cardiology, Endocrinology, Rheumatology, Ophthalmology and Obstetrics, are expected to be released throughout 2020.