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.

  • nil

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

Central Adelaide Local Health Network

Northern Adelaide Local Health Network 

Southern Adelaide Local Health Network


  • aesthetic surgical procedures
  • anal dermatological conditions without underlying/suspected Colorectal diagnosis – consider referral to dermatology
  • asymptomatic anal tags

Triage categories

Category 1 (appointment clinically indicated within 30 days)

  • suspected malignancy
  • suspected anal mass or anal intra-epithelial neoplasia (AIN)

Category 2 (appointment clinically indicated within 90 days)

  • overt rectal bleeding without concerning features
  • suspected anal fistula
  • severe anorectal pain unresponsive to first-line management
  • chronic anal fissure present for longer than 6 weeks/unresponsive to first-line management
  • anal warts

Category 3 (appointment clinically indicated within 365 days)+

  • pruritis ani
  • anal dermatological condition with underlying/suspected colorectal diagnosis
  • symptomatic haemorrhoids
  • symptomatic anal tags

For more on outpatient referrals, see the general referral information page.

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  
  • relevant social history, including identifying if you feel your patient is from a vulnerable population and/or requires a third party to receive correspondence on their behalf
  • interpreter requirements
  • past medical/surgical history
  • family history specific to bowel cancer, irritable bowel disease, and polyposis
  • medications and allergies
  • smoking/alcohol and other drug status
  • age
  • height/weight
  • if suspected malignancy, a history of:
    • altered bowel habits
    • rectal tenesmus
    • incomplete rectal emptying
    • presence of blood, pus or mucus in stools
    • mass
    • previous management trialled, duration and efficacy
  • examination findings+
    • abdominal
    • anal inspection findings and/or digital rectal examination, note sphincter tone
  • reports of prior gastroscopies, colonoscopies or polypectomy and pathology of specimens removed where relevant

Additional information to assist triage categorisation

  • relevant diagnostic/imaging reports including location of company and accession number