Immediately contact the ENT registrar to arrange an urgent ENT assessment for:

  • Ear discharge with moderate to severe persistent ear pain, persistent headache, cranial nerve neuropathy or facial palsy
  • Malignant otitis externa
  • Suspected skull base osteomyelitis
  • Cellulitis of the pinna
  • Suspected mastoiditis
  • Osteitis ear.

Criteria for referral to public hospital specialist clinic services

  • Non-painful discharging ear for longer than two weeks that fails to settle with treatment.
  • Otorrhea clear discharge
  • Cholesteatoma.

Information to be included in the referral

Information that must be provided

  • Microscopy, culture and sensitivity (MCS) ear swab.

Provide if available

  • History of smoking
  • Excessive alcohol intake.

Additional comments

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

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

  • Waxy ear discharge.