Adult Specialist Clinics at Western Health are provided by the Adult Outpatient Department, DrugHealth Services (formerly DASWest) and Women's Clinics. Our Subacute Ambulatory Care Service also provides services which can be referred to by GPs including Community Based Rehabilitation and Specialist Clinics via the Western Health Community Services.
To ensure referrals can be triaged appropriately, referrals need to meet the minimum referral information requirements (clinical and clerical) as outlined in the Referral Requirements page.
The Adult Specialist Clinics Referral Directory lists all services/clinics offered at Western Health for Adults
Western Health has been working with Clinical Units to develop pre-referral guidelines for Specialist Clinics. The Adult Specialist Clinic Referral Directory includes clinics that have implemented pre-referral guidelines. Referrers are asked to review these guidelines before referring to ensure that the referral meets eligibility and triaging criteria.
Referrals with insufficient information to facilitate triage may be returned with a request for additional information which may delay access to the service.
Western Health encourages the use of the GP Referral Form (previously known as the Victorian State-wide Referral Form (VSRF)).
Some clinics have developed referral forms to assist GPs with referrals however with the exception of the Neurosurgery Additional Information Form, these are not compulsory and referrals will be accepted using any template provided that it meets the minimum referral criteria and the criteria outlined in he pre-referral guidelines (if applicable).
GPs will start to see some differences in the communication received from Western Health specialist clinics. The changes in communication processes, as outlined below, are a result of the implementation of the Department of Health's Specialist Clinics in Victorian Public Hospitals: Access Policy, released 2013.
Referrals to specialist clinics should contain all the relevant demographic and clinical information as well as results from preliminary investigations. Such referrals can be efficiently triaged for urgency and added to a waitlist, and can reduce patient waiting times.
Specialist clinics should communicate with referrers about referrals and the outcomes of specialist reviews within set time frames, which will help with ongoing care management in the community.
The Policy has three main areas of focus:
Timeframes for the completion of key processes relating to specialist clinics
Increased data transparency - implementing a centralised monitoring of access to specialist clinics and other aspects of service performance, hopefully leading to the government releasing information about specialist clinic waiting lists
To improve communication between referrers and clinics in a way that manages expectations and is beneficial to both parties
The Policy has a two year implementation phase with full compliance expected by all health services by 1 July 2015. As outlined in the table below Western Health has begun implementing the changes.
Western Health is committed to keeping you informed of the changes as we move towards full implementation of the Policy.
Clear minimum standard for all referrals
Clear expectations regarding timelines for processing referrals
Clear expectations regarding when to expect communication regarding outcome of referral
Improved access to pre-referral information including pre-referral guidelines
Improved communication from specialist clinics following appointments
Referrals for specialist clinics must contain all the information outlined below.
Patient demographic information
Reason for referral
Physical examination results
Management to date and response to treatment
Relevant investigation results
Relevant medical and social history
Date of referral, name of specialist clinic, if known and name of specialist to whom the patient is being referred.
A named specialist is required for all referrals to MBS clinics
As per the Policy, referrals that don't include all the information as outlined above will be returned to the referring doctor with a request for more information. Referrals that are awaiting further information will remain 'open' for 30 days. If a new referral with the requested information is not received by the Specialist Clinics within 30 days the referral will be not accepted.
Key specialist clinic activity
Timeline for implementation
Each specialist clinic should have designated staff available to respond to information requests from referrers
Contact details for Outpatients
Adult Outpatients Ph 8345 6490
Women's Clinic Ph 8345 1727 (press 7 for GP priority)
Paediatric Clinics Ph 8345 1616
Specialist clinics should have user-friendly and up-to-date information on their websites about referral requirements
and services offered
GP Integration page on Western Health website
Development of referral guidelines
Clinical prioritisation should occur within five days of receiving a complete referral, with referrals categorised
as either 'urgent' or 'routine'
Referrers will be sent notification of receipt of referral
Referrers will be sent notification of the patient's appointment or that they have been placed on waiting list as either 'urgent' or 'routine' see below.
Specialist clinics should contact the referrer and
acknowledge a referral within 8 days, and request any
additional diagnostic tests or information at this time
Referrers will be sent a request for more information to be able to accurately triage a referral within 8 days
If further information is not received within 30 days the referral will be not accepted
Urgent cases are to be seen within 30 days
Cases that are triaged as urgent (Category 1) will be seen within 30 days of receiving referral.
Referrers will be notified of appointment
Commenced – completion June 2015
Routine cases are to be seen on a first on, first off basis
'Routine' is classified as any category that is not urgent (Category 2 and 3)
Specialist clinics should send a summary within 5 days of the initial assessment appointment and within 5 days of the discharge appointment
An assessment in Specialist Clinics may occur over several appointments.
Please contact General Practice Integration on 8345 1735 or email [email protected] or visit the Department of Health to view the access policy http://docs.health.vic.gov.au/docs/doc/Specialist-clinics-in-Victorian-public-hospitals:-Access-policy.
A printable fact sheet of the above informatoin is avaible here Access Policy Information for GPs
Adult Specialist Clinics Phone 8345 6490 Fax 8345 6856
Women's Clinic Phone 8345 1727 Fax 8345 1691
SACSPhone: 8345 1283 Fax: 8345 1339
General Practice IntegrationPhone 8345 1735 Fax 8345 1180Email [email protected]