If any of the following are present or suspected, please refer the patient to the emergency department (via ambulance if necessary) or follow local emergency care protocols or seek emergent medical advice if in a remote region.
acute upper GI tract bleeding
acute severe lower GI tract bleeding
oesophageal foreign bodies/food bolus
Acute Severe Colitis*
Severe vomiting and/or diarrhoea with dehydration
Acute/fulminant liver failure (to be referred to a centre with dedicated hepatology services
Biliary sepsis (to be referred to a centre with ERCP service)
* Acute severe colitis as defined by the Truelove and Witts criteria – all patients with ≥ 6 bloody bowel motions per 24 hours plus at least one of the following:
NB: If patients are on a gluten-free diet, advise them to add gluten to their diet for four weeks before diagnostic testing
Please note that where appropriate and where available, the referral may be streamed to an associated public allied health and/or nursing service. Access to some specific services may include initial assessment and management by associated public allied health and/or nursing, which may either facilitate or negate the need to see the public medical specialist.
A change in patient circumstance (such as condition deteriorating, or becoming pregnant) may affect the urgency categorisation and should be communicated as soon as possible.
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.