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Information for the community, patients, and our workforce

Information for general practitioners


In preparation for the move to the new Royal Adelaide Hospital there was a controlled decrease in outpatient activity for several months.

Reductions in activity provided staff with time to adjust to a new working environment, new patient flows, different workforce models and new electronic patient management systems.

These activity reductions were achieved by prioritising clinically urgent appointments and deferring bookings of non-urgent patients until the end of October when we have settled into the new hospital.

How did the outpatient ramp down work?

To assist in better prioritising patient appointments based on their clinical need, all new and review outpatient referrals were assigned a Clinical Urgency Category, as outlined in the Department of Health and Ageing Specialist Outpatient Services Clinical Urgency Categories Policy Directive.

This saw patients triaged as one of four categories.

  • Rapid Access Appointment (immediate appointment within 72 hours)
  • Category 1 (urgent within 30 days)
  • Category 2 (semi-urgent within 90 days)
  • Category 3 (non-urgent, greater than 90 days).

All Category 1 and Rapid Access Appointments continued to be booked as per normal, except for the three days of the patient move Monday 4 September to Wednesday 6 September. Any Category 1 or Rapid Assessment referrals received in the week before the move were booked in on Thursday 7 and Friday 8 September.

All Category 2 appointments were booked and seen at the old RAH as per normal until the patient move. Between 4 September and 23 October 2017, all patients clinically triaged as Category 2 are added to the OPD waiting list / booking queue maintaining treat-in-turn principles. After this date appointments will be booked as normal.

No new or review Category 3 appointments will be booked from 24 May 2017 until after the patient move. These patients will be added to the waiting list / booking queue, after this date appointments will be booked as normal.

This process will see the number of bookings in the system gradually decrease in the lead up to the patient move, freeing up staff for training and reducing the amount of data to be transferred to the new system.

Having less activity over the move period also gave staff a chance to get used to their new workplace before activity increased to normal levels.

What happens if my patient is put on the waiting list?

Any patients that are placed on the RAH OPD waiting list / booking queue are supported by a treat-in-turn principle so that specialist appointments could be made based on clinical need and in the order of when the referral came in.

Once the clinical move is complete there will be a gradual increase (Ramp Up) in outpatient activity, the timing of which will be determined on a clinic by clinic basis.

How long will this delay my patient’s appointment?

Once the new RAH is up and running we will ramp activity back up to normal levels and develop strategies to deal with any backlog. This is expected to take about 8 weeks following the opening of the new RAH.

It is important to remember that patients on the waitlist have been classified as not urgent. Should the patient’s condition change at any time they will be encouraged to speak to their General Practitioner, so they can be re-classified if necessary.

What if my patient already has a booking during September and October?

A small number of patients have appointments booked in the system during the move week, Monday 4 September to Friday 8 September. These patients needed to be rescheduled, however the new appointment was made as close as possible to the original appointment time.

All other patients who already had a booking scheduled over the next few months will keep their appointment, regardless of their clinical urgency category. However if it is after Thursday 7 September, the location will have changed to the new RAH.

Will I be notified if my patient’s appointment changes?

If there was any change to either the time or day of existing appointments, both the patient and their General Practitioner was notified ahead of time, including advice on how to access the new hospital.

Are there any changes to the referral process?

There are no changes to the outpatient referral process in the lead up to the move to the new Royal Adelaide Hospital.

There are new phone and fax numbers for our outpatient departments, which were provided prior to the move.

Did all outpatient clinics at the old RAH move to the new RAH?

We are currently reviewing all outpatient clinics across CALHN to align with the service profile of each hospital. Some clinics may move from the RAH to TQEH and vice versa during this process. Any changes to clinics will be communicated to patients and General Practitioners ahead of time.

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