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.

  • severe/uncontrolled abdominal and/or rectal pain unresponsive to first-line management
  • significant or uncontrolled per rectum (PR) bleeding
  • suspected bowel obstruction, potential symptoms include:
    • inability to pass any bowel motions or gas
    • significant change in bowel habits
    • distended abdomen, abdominal pain and cramping
    • nausea/vomiting

Please contact the the colorectal or general surgery on-call registrar to discuss your concerns prior to at the time referral.

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

Category 1 (appointment clinically indicated within 30 days)

  • complicated diverticular disease, including:
    • fistula
    • stricture
  • obstructive gastrointestinal symptoms
  • unexplained weight loss of at least 5% of body weight in previous 6 months

Category 2 (appointment clinically indicated within 90 days)

  • uncomplicated recurrent diverticulitis

Category 3 (appointment clinically indicated within 365 days)

  • nil

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 required
  • 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
  • presenting symptoms:
    • concerning features
    • previous management trialled and efficacy - including courses of antibiotics and previous admission/s to hospital
  • height/weight
  • body mass index 
  • examination findings:
    • abdominal
    • digital rectal examination, note sphincter tone
  • reports of prior colonoscopies and pathology of specimens removed
  • relevant diagnostic/imaging reports, including location of company and accession number

Additional information to assist triage categorisation

  • abdominal computed tomography (CT)
  • pathology:
    • complete blood examination (CBE)
    • electrolytes urea and creatinine (EUC)
    • c-reactive protein (CRP)
    • iron studies