Direct to an emergency department for:

  • Suspected large bowel obstruction
  • Faecal impaction that has not responded to adequate medical management.

Criteria for referral to public hospital specialist clinic services

  • Constipation lasting more than 12 months with refractory symptoms that affect the person’s activities of daily living despite an adequate trial of treatment.

Information to be included in the referral

Information that must be provided

  • Onset, characteristics and duration of symptoms
  • Details of previous medical management including the course of treatment and outcome of treatment
  • Current and complete medication history (including non-prescription medicines, herbs and supplements)
  • Thyroid stimulating hormone levels
  • Serum calcium.

Provide if available

  • Current and previous colonoscopy results
  • Details of any previous gastroenterology assessments or opinions.
  • Current and previous imaging results.

Additional comments

The Summary and referral information lists the information that should be included in a referral request.

The referral should note that the request is for advice on, or review of, the current management plan as requests for a second opinion will usually not be accepted.

Where appropriate and available the referral may be directed to an alternative specialist clinic or service.

Referral to a public hospital is not appropriate for

  • Patients with no sentinel findings, who have not had an adequate trial of treatment (e.g. regular osmotic laxatives) 
  • Laxative dependence.