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Is the emergency department the best place for you?

If not, there are other options



Urgent and serious referrals

If your patient needs an urgent and serious outpatient referral:

  1. please telephone RAH switchboard: (08) 7074 0000, and
  2. ask to speak to the specialty on-call registrar for the service required
  3. discuss details about the referral case with the on-call registrar
  4. confirm correct clinic fax or email address with on-call registrar before sending directly to the clinic required
  5. include relevant documentation with referral, requirements are detailed in the ‘health professionals‘ section (of this site) for each specialty condition.

All other referrals

All other referrals that are received by outpatient clinics will be reviewed to determine the clinical urgency of the patient’s condition. All appointments are scheduled based on patient clinical need.

Wait times for an outpatient appointment will vary depending on the level of demand for the service.

Outpatient Call Centre & Referral Management Hub

Referral Management Hub - for clinicians only: (08) 7074 1239

To email PDF format referrals only*:
*(Not for clinical services that are listed below - see individual details)

Fax: (08) 7074 6247

External Mail Delivery Point: 21

For more information, view the Royal Adelaide Hospital contact list.

Please note: The Outpatient Call Centre and Referral Management Hub details (above) should NOT be utilised for the following services:

Tips to assist with triaging referrals

View information for referring GPs to help the triaging process.

How to make a referral

All patients require a valid referral prior to receiving treatment in an outpatient clinic. Referrals must be submitted in writing and should contain the required minimum data to ensure timely and appropriate decision making.

A patient can be referred to and see a specialist doctor of choice, provided the doctor is available for appointment within suitable timeframes, based on clinical need.

To be treated as a Medicare bulk billed (private) patient in an outpatient clinic and see a specialist doctor of choice, a patient can be referred to a named specialist.

If a referral is not written to a named specialist, the patient will be seen by a doctor of the hospital’s choice as a public patient.

All outpatients are seen on the basis of clinical need. If the named specialist doctor is not available within a clinically appropriate timeframe another doctor may see the patient to ensure the necessary care is provided.

More information is available on the CALHN Specialist and outpatient services web page.

Clinical urgency categories

Below are the three endorsed standard clinical urgency categories for the triage of specialist outpatient referrals.

In order for a patient to be allocated a particular clinical urgency category, the patient must meet all criteria for that category. If a patient does not fulfil all of the criteria for Category 1, then Category 2 must be considered. If the patient does not fulfil all of the criteria for Category 2, then the patient must be allocated Category 3 status.

Rapid Access Appointment (immediate - within 72 hours)

For patients requiring immediate access to an outpatient clinic (within 72 hours of referral), the Rapid Access Appointment can be used to facilitate access.

Rapid Access Appointments do not form a component of a specialist outpatient service waiting list, but are established as a type of appointment to aide immediate access to specialist outpatient services for those patients that are not appropriate to be wait-listed. Responsibility for the assignment of Rapid Access Appointments is with the SA Health outpatient service clinician.

The type of patients that may be appropriate for allocation of a Rapid Access Appointment include clinically appropriate patients diverted from public hospital Emergency Departments, as well as patients referred by General Practitioners with a clearly demonstrated urgent need for specialist assessment and commencement of care.

Assessment and care facilitated via a Rapid Access Appointment may avoid the need for a future presentation to an Emergency Department or a hospital inpatient admission.


Government of South Australia 2016, Specialist Outpatient Services Clinical Urgency Category Policy Directive, Department of health and aging, vol 1, pp 4-5.

Appointment reminders

To assist patients to attend their appointments on time, we will call with an appointment time and date if the first appointment is in less than four weeks.

For appointments that are more than four weeks away, patients will receive an appointment reminder via the post. In addition, if a valid mobile number has been provided, patients will receive an SMS reminder of their appointment date and time 48 hours prior to their appointment.

If any contact details have changed, please call the general outpatient number 1300 153 853 and provide an updated mobile number and details. If patients do not wish to receive a reminder SMS, please advise the Outpatient Administration team.

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