The Clinical Prioritisation Criteria, or CPC, are standardised statewide referral criteria designed to support safe and equitable referral and triage of patients to public hospital outpatient clinics within South Australia.

The CPC aim to ensure the public and referring clinicians have access to clear information regarding the clinical information and investigations necessary for a referral to be triaged and accepted for public outpatient services.

The CPC provide clear and concise information for referring doctors regarding the best pathway for referral, the information and investigations to include in a referral to permit accurate triage and additional resources to support management of common clinical conditions in the community.

Once finalised and endorsed, CPC can be found published on the CPC website.

The CPC aim to ensure:

  • Patients are ready for care at their first specialist outpatient appointment, reducing unnecessary follow up appointments (and lessening inconvenience to patients).
  • There is transparency regarding criteria for specialist outpatient services between Local Health Networks (LHNs), the primary care sector and the public.
  • Consistent referral criteria is available across all LHNs, including relevant diagnostics and assisting information required to appropriately triage referrals and to support timely access to the most appropriate care. 
  • Referring clinicians and patients have access to accurate and consistent referral information to enable informed decision making, to determine appropriate treatment pathways.
  • Referrals received allow specialist outpatient services to appropriately triage and allocate appointments in order of clinical urgency.

As CPC are developed and published, they will also be embedded into the statewide eReferral solution. The eReferrals system is being established across all SA Health sites and will enable General Practitioners (GPs) to send referral forms digitally to outpatient clinics. The CPC team have been working closely with the eReferrals team to ensure both projects work together in a streamlined manner for referring clinicians.

Please note that the development of eReferral forms specific to these specialties will take place in a later phase:

  • Burns
  • Endocrinology
  • Hepatology
  • Plastics’

CPC are developed by a multi-disciplinary team of specialist clinicians to ensure that the criteria are meaningful for clinicians and remain contemporary. Clinicians include:

  • Local Health Network (LHN) clinicians
  • General Practitioners (GPs)
  • non-GP specialists
  • nurses
  • allied health professionals.

Yes. CPC are developed to ensure patients receive equitable assessment and consistent triage categorisation for public specialist outpatient appointments and should be used by LHN clinicians when triaging referrals.

Yes. The CPCs will support, rather than replace clinical judgment and decision-making. If you are concerned that your patient requires specialist review, but the referral does not meet CPC requirements, please telephone the relevant metropolitan Local Health Network switchboard and ask to speak to the relevant specialty service.

Central Adelaide Local Health Network

Southern Adelaide Local Health Network

Northern Adelaide Local Health Network

Women's and Children's Health Network

CPCs have been developed for use when referring into the SA Health specialist outpatient services. Private hospitals and clinics may have different referral requirements.

Not all conditions are managed in the South Australian public health system. For many of these conditions the CPCs contain suggestions for community-based management options that support patient care closer to home, in a more timely and holistic manner.

We recognise that in many situations, the General Practitioner (GP) is the most appropriate clinician to manage their patient’s care. We will facilitate this by ensuring clinical information and resources are readily available, including access to non-GP specialist advice and guidance. By better supporting community-based care, we will have more capacity to see patients who most require specialised care in a tertiary service.

No. However referrals containing incomplete or insufficient information may be returned to the referrer or be allocated to a less urgent triage category leading to a delay in accessing care.

Using the CPC to guide referral will promote more timely access to care due to more accurate triage and relevant investigation results available at the first appointment.

Please indicate in the referral if the patient is unable to access mandatory tests or investigations that may incur a cost or are unavailable locally. At times, the triaging clinician or outpatient service may be able to provide advice on how necessary investigations can be accessed at a reduced cost to the patient.

The triage category timeframes are target time frames to provide clinical care based on the urgency of the clinical problem.

All new referrals will be triaged by a consultant and appointment times scheduled according to clinical urgency.

General Practitioner (GPs) and patients are encouraged to review these and also the Quarterly Specialist Outpatient Waiting Time Report which displays the actual wait times for access to public outpatient services across SA Health. This information may help the public and referring doctors to make informed decisions about accessing alternative referral pathways, such as care in the private sector.

All CPC are periodically reviewed by a team of multi-disciplinary specialist clinicians including Local Health Network (LHN) clinicians, General Practitioners (GPs), non-GP specialists, nurses and Allied Health Professionals, with consultation from a broad range of stakeholders. The purpose of CPC reviews is to:

  • update CPC content to reflect the most recent evidence and best practice guidelines.
  • provide an opportunity for new CPC to be developed and previous CPC to be retired.
  • offer an opportunity for stakeholders to provide feedback.
  • ensure information is accessible to consumers with appropriate health literacy.
  • continue to strengthen relationships between multi-disciplinary specialist clinicians and stakeholders.

We welcome requests for further information or feedback on the CPC and website, please refer to the relevant form below.

Please email the completed form to