Direct to an emergency department for:

  • Severe diarrhoea with dehydration or when the person is systemically unwell.

Criteria for referral to public hospital specialist clinic services

  • Diarrhoea > 4 weeks duration, affecting activities of daily living, with one or more of the following:
    • bloody diarrhoea
    • nocturnal diarrhoea
    • weight loss (≥ 5% of body weight in previous 6 months)
    • abdominal or rectal mass
    • inflammatory markers in the blood or stool
    • iron deficiency that persists despite correction of potential causative factors.

Information to be included in the referral

Information that must be provided

  • Frequency and duration of diarrhoea
  • Onset, characteristics and duration of sentinel findings (e.g. erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), C-reactive protein (CRP), faecal microscopy and culture and Clostridium difficile toxin)
  • Previous colonoscopy results
  • Coeliac serology
  • Full blood examination
  • Liver function tests.

Provide if available

  • Previous histology results
  • Details of any previous gastroenterology assessments or opinions
  • Iron studies
  • Thyroid stimulating hormone levels
  • Faecal calprotectin
  • Faecal occult blood test
  • Recent travel history.

Additional comments

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

See also: statewide referral criteria for inflammatory bowel disease.

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

  • Diarrhoea < 4 weeks duration without sentinel findings.