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For GPs - advice to assist with triaging referrals


Advice to assist with triaging referral

A clear story helps with the triaging process so we can really “see” the patient.

When referring a patient to a specialist, GPs are encouraged to consider including the following information in their referrals.

This level of detail, will provide the CALHN clinician with a comprehensive overview of the patient, which will assist in the triaging process.

When developing your referral consider including the following:

  • Why you want us to see your patient?
  • What question do you want answered?
  • What are you and the patient hoping will happen as a result of the appointment?
  • When are you writing your referral?

In addition, including the following information may assist to make a referral more effective:

  • Clear timeframes (weeks/months).
  • Significant family history, including relationship and how old the relative was at the time of onset of the medical condition.
  • Impact on function and quality of life.
  • Significant negatives in terms of symptoms (eg no change in bowel habit, no weight loss).
  • Medications/other management which have already been trialled, and how successful or unsuccessful they were and why.
  • Other relevant details such as frailty, mobility, general level of fitness, hearing or vision impaired (to assist with provision of care).
  • Relevant investigation results, both positive and negative
  • Smoking and alcohol use.
  • Other co-morbidities such as chronic pain, obesity (in relation to whether bariatric facilities are available in the institution to which you are referring), mental health if there is a significant level of disability.
  • Cultural aspects including whether an interpreter needed? Does gender matter? What is the patient’s first language?
  • Any special considerations? Such as transport, carer availability etc.

If the referral is urgent or if you would like to discuss your referral with a clinician to get advice before sending it, please don’t hesitate to ring the person on-call for the unit to which you are referring.

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