Getting a referral

You need a referral to see a specialist.

A referral is a written request from one doctor to another, or to a hospital, asking them to diagnose or treat you for a medical condition.

How to get a referral

To get a referral you’ll need to speak to your GP about your health concerns. Your GP will determine if you need specialist treatment and arrange any medicines or tests that you need.

Your GP will then send a written referral letter to a specialist doctor at one of our hospitals.

Depending on the urgency of your condition, you may be put on a waiting list for your first outpatient appointment with a specialist.

After your appointment you may also be placed on an elective surgery waiting list.

Most referrals from doctors to specialists are valid for 12 months. Referrals from specialists and consultant physicians to other specialists are valid for 3 months unless you’re admitted to hospital.

The referral process checks that the proposed consultation or test is clinically important.

Using Medicare

Our public hospitals offer Medicare bulk billing services to eligible patients. If you have a Medicare care you can choose to be treated as a bulk billed private patient.

If you choose to be bulk billed, your treatment will be free and clinic staff will claim your doctor’s services directly from Medicare.

You’ll need to ask your referring GP to address your referral to the clinic specialist.

If you’re not eligible for Medicare, your referral will need to be accepted by the hospital and you’ll have to pay all hospital charges before you have any treatment.

Sometimes getting treatment in a private medical clinic may be cheaper than a public hospital. We encourage you to discuss this with your referring GP.

Read more about health costs, insurance and financial support.

Services that don’t need a referral

You don’t need a GP referral to access:

  • any emergency treatment
  • urgent mental health care
  • sexual health clinics
  • oral health care provided you meet eligibility criteria.

Read more about outpatient appointments.

Last updated:November 2021