The role of specialist clinics is to provide specialist non-admitted care to people in acute health settings. People are referred to specialist clinics by their general practitioner (GP), specialist, or community-based health provider, as well as hospital based clinicians in emergency departments, inpatient wards and other areas of the hospital.
Victorian specialist clinics provide more than 3 million appointments each year. Since 2012–13 the sector has experienced a six per cent growth in activity.
Specialist clinic reform
The Department of Health and Human Services is currently undertaking a series of reforms to specialist clinics to improve consistency and access.
The Statewide Design, Service and Infrastructure Plan for Victoria's Health System 2017–2037 provides the planning framework that will guide service, workforce and infrastructure investment in our health system over the next 20 years.
The plan includes reforms for specialist clinics such as:
- developing clear thresholds and pathways for referrals to specialist services
- changing the way we provide specialist clinic services such as greater use of telehealth, more flexible ways of working, and getting people assessed more quickly by specialists, with better arrangements for them to return to primary care in the community
- better access, with a focus on reducing waiting times and delivering equal access to care through statewide service planning, targeted investment and unlocking innovation.