Orthopaedic clinic - Hand and upper limb outpatient service in CALHN

The Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) hand and upper limb outpatient clinics (part of the RAH Orthopaedic Unit) provide assessment and treatment services for patients living in the Central Adelaide Local Health Network (CALHN) area who have experienced some form of hand or upper limb trauma or chronic hand or upper limb disorders.

Services are also provided to patients referred from rural and remote areas.


Services include:

  • Diagnosis and management of various hand and upper limb disorders
  • Post-operative reviews
  • Inpatient consultations and admission
  • Virtual clinics

We also work closely with the occupational therapy and physiotherapy units to ensure optimal outcomes for each patient.

For more information, please view the CALHN Physiotherapy page.

Appointment location

Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH)

Outpatient Department, Level 3G.
Royal Adelaide Hospital
Port Road SA 5000

Clinic times

RAH clinics operate weekly on a Friday morning.

Complex cases

The unit deals with some of the most complex cases of bone and soft tissue tumours as well as complex revision joint surgery; they are recognised nationally and internationally for achieving the best patient outcomes, developing and implementing new treatment strategies and continued translational research.

GP information

Refer your patient

Fax referral to us

We accept GP and specialist referrals to this service. 

All referrals are triaged by the service according to clinical urgency.

Patients who are unstable and requiring immediate assessment should be sent directly to the Emergency Department. 

To refer your patient, follow the outpatient service information, triage and referral guidelines, complete and fax a referral to us. For urgent referrals, also contact the orthopaedic registrar to discuss the case.

To ensure appropriate and timely triage, include all demographic and clinical details as well as relevant investigation results. 

If you are concerned about any delay of the appointment or if there is any deterioration in your patient’s condition, contact the Registrar on call on (08) 7074 0000 (RAH).

Clinical features indicative or potentially serious pathology 

  •  Swelling, erythema, marked reduction in range of motion of a joint (septic arthritis)
  •  Acute deformity following recent trauma including dislocation

To make a referral

Fax: (08) 7074 6247

Telephone: 1300 153 853

Non-urgent referrals

Non-urgent referrals will be allocated to the next available appointment.  Non-urgent referrals will incur a wait. The waiting time for appointment will vary and be dependent on the demand for this service and the medical urgency of the patient’s condition.

Hand and upper limb problems not considered high priority (see related resources below for eligibility and referral criteria) may wait a longer time for an appointment.  Please consider other options and do not refer to multiple providers regarding the same presenting complaint.

Referrals unlikely to be offered an appointment

Hand and upper limb clinics do not provide second opinions for patients already under the care of other orthopaedic surgeons. Transfer of care from another specialist may be accepted.

Referrals from other outpatient clinics in the RAH may not be accepted unless specific hand and upper limb input is required for the condition for which the patient is already attending a hospital outpatient clinic.

Consultants and registrars of other clinics should consider whether incidental non-threatening musculoskeletal problems could be managed by a patient’s general practitioner and whether the problem merits specialist resources.

Alternate care options / health information for low priority

Not all patients with hand and upper limb conditions can be offered appointments in CALHN clinics.

In most cases, the key to appropriate management is a detailed history and examination.  Options for obtaining further information regarding various upper limb conditions and to provide guidance for assessment, investigations and management are listed in heath pathways

Health Pathways

Health Pathways South Australia is an online portal designed to be used by general practice at the point of care to guide best practice assessment, management and referral of common clinical conditions.

Patient information

How to access that clinic

Referral from your GP

You need a referral letter from your GP or medical practitioner to access this service.

Your doctor will need to fax your referral letter to us.  We will be in contact with you within clinically recommended times, depending on waiting list length.  If there is no waiting list, you will receive an appointment booking letter or we will contact you to arrange a suitable time.

Information sheets

Please refer to the information sheets below for information regarding the outpatient service.


Please refer to the outpatient map below and present to your designated clinic on the day of your appointment.