Referral to emergency

If any of the following are present or suspected, please refer the patient to the emergency department (via ambulance if necessary) or seek emergent medical advice if in a remote region.

  • facial fractures, please contact Cleft & Craniofacial SA on (08) 8161 7000
  • traumatic or partial amputation (limb, ear, nose, lip, scalp)
  • crush injury
  • compartment syndrome
  • foreign body e.g. glass/nail
  • nerve injury – including rapid onset compression
  • lacerations of face, hand, head, and neck, or with large skin deficit
  • hand presentations including:
    • acute fingertip injuries
    • complex tendon injuries
    • nerve and vascular injuries
    • irreducible dislocations
    • compound fractures
    • suspected septic joint
    • flexor tenosynovitis
    • fingertip infections
    • hand abscess

For clinical advice, please telephone the relevant metropolitan Local Health Network switchboard and ask to speak to the relevant specialty service.

Women's and Children's Health Network

Category 1 - appointment clinically indicated within 30 days

  • acute soft tissue defects
  • closed hand fractures or reduced dislocation
  • delayed presentation nerve injury
  • delayed presentation tendon or ligamentous injury of the hand
  • foreign body subcutaneous
  • chronic hand soft tissue or osteomyelitis

Category 2 — appointment clinically indicated within 90 days

  • chronic wounds
  • uninfected foreign bodies
  • delayed presentation of hand trauma (greater than 2 months).
  • foreign body present for greater than 2 months

Category 3 — appointment clinically indicated within 365 days

  • nil

For information on referral forms and how to import them, please view general referral information.

Essential referral information

Completion required before first appointment to ensure patients are ready for care. Please indicate in the referral if the patient is unable to access mandatory tests or investigations as they incur a cost or are unavailable locally.

  • identifies as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
  • identify within your referral if you feel your patient is from a vulnerable population, under guardianship/out-of-home care arrangements and/or requires a third party to receive correspondence on their behalf
  • interpreter requirements
  • child/parents demographic information including best contact details
  • past medical/surgical history
  • last administered tetanus vaccine
  • current medications and dosages
  • allergies and sensitivities
  • presenting symptoms
  • management history including:
    • injury/trauma/surgery, if relevant
    • onset and duration
    • severity
    • pain
    • associated features, e.g. functional impairment and range of motion
    • treatments trialled/implemented prior to referral
  • sensory or motor deficit distribution, e.g. median, ulnar, or radial sensory or motor signs
  • relevant investigations and reports, include provider details and accession number

Clinical management advice

All acute fractures or tendon or soft tissue injuries that do not require emergency department presentation are triaged as a category 1 and require assessment within 7 days – please contact your local Plastic and Reconstructive surgery by phone to ensure any referrals can be actively followed up.

Fractures of craniofacial bones should be discussed with the Women’s and Children’s Hospital (WCH) Craniomaxillofacial SA service.

This is a guideline for outpatient referral only. If you have clinical concerns, please contact the WCH Plastic and Reconstructive surgery service via switchboard on (08) 8161 7000

Clinical resources