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The Prince Charles Hospital Specialist Outpatient Service Referrals (Queensland Health)

Where a patient is referred to a practitioner specified in a referral, the patient can be treated by another practitioner in the same location as long as he/she is receiving treatment in the same speciality as that of the practitioner specified in the referral.

This means that referrals for private practice / bulk billing clinics can be made to the principal specialists of the clinic with the patient then being seen (and billed) by another specialist. It negates the need to obtain a new referral should a patient be unable to see the specialist to whom they have been referred, provided they are treated by a specialist practising in the same speciality and from the same location.

All referrals received by the Specialist Outpatient Service will be categorised based on prioritisation according to clinical urgency.  It is acknowledged that this process may be complex and influenced by a range of factors.

Referrals must be in writing (email, letter, fax) with sufficient information to enable categorisation based on clinical need and acceptance of referrals will be subject to referral content, consideration of service location and patient status. 

The Specialist's name and speciality should be clearly written on the referral along with:

  • Patient's full name, address, contact telephone numbers
  • Date of birth
  • Preferred language
  • Medicare number
  • Referring practitioner's full name, address, contact telephone numbers, provider number
  • Relevant information about the patient's condition
  • Current medications and drug allergies
  • Patient's choice to be treated as a public, bulk-billing or private patient
  • Patient status (DVA, Work Cover, Motor Vehicle Insurance)
  • Reason for referral
  • Signature of referring practitioner
  • Date of referral

and any diagnostic test results should be included. 

Only patients with an active referral are able to access specialists in the Specialist Outpatient Service.  The patient's ongoing care remains the responsibility of the referring practitioner until such time as the referral has been accepted and the patient has completed an initial consultation with a Specialist Outpatient Service doctor.


If a patient's condition requires an urgent referral to a particular specialty, the registrar or specialist in the relevant discipline should be contacted, and/or the patient should attend the Emergency Department.

Last updated: 13 January 2016