Direct to an emergency department for:

  • Progressively worsening oropharyngeal or throat dysphagia
  • Inability to swallow with drooling or pooling of saliva
  • Unresolved food bolus obstruction.

Criteria for referral to public hospital specialist clinic services

  • Recent onset dysphagia with any of the following:
    • symptoms for less than 12 months
    • progressive symptoms
    • anaemia
    • haematemesis
    • weight loss (≥ 5% of body weight in previous 6 months)
    • painful swallowing
    • symptoms of aspiration
    • previously resolved bolus obstruction.

Information to be included in the referral

Information that must be provided

  • History of dysphagia and other symptoms over time
  • Any previous gastroscopy or other relevant investigations.

Provide if available

  • Barium swallow, relevant imaging or gastroscopy results.

Additional comments

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

Referrals for oropharyngeal dysphagia should be directed to an ENT service provided by the health service.

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

  • Dysphagia that has persisted for more than 12 months with none of the following:
    • progressive symptoms
    • anaemia
    • weight loss
    • painful swallowing
    • aspiration
    • previous resolved bolus obstruction.