Key messages

  • General practitioners and other health professionals can refer patients to specialist paediatric orthopaedic services.

The Victorian Paediatric Orthopaedic Network (VPON) aims to improve communication between specialist providers and referrers such as general practitioners (GPs).

GPs, specialists or other hospitals may refer people to specialist paediatric orthopaedic providers.

Referring a patient

Make a referral in writing (letter, facsimile or electronic file) to the outpatient department of the most appropriate specialist paediatric orthopaedic provider. Where clinically appropriate, refer the person to the provider closest to where the family lives. Providers prioritise referrals according to the referral information you give. If your referral is urgent, please contact the individual hospital. Include the following information in the referral:

  • child’s full name and date of birth
  • child’s address
  • parent or caregiver’s name and phone number
  • name of service you are referring to
  • date of referral
  • reason for referral (such as diagnosis, if known; severity; duration; physical findings)
  • the child's medical history
  • current medications
  • allergies
  • relevant investigations including x-rays and ultrasounds (photocopy films where appropriate; hard copies of diagnostic imaging should be sent with the patient where possible)
  • copies of other tests (such as blood tests) or the contact details of the pathology lab where the tests were undertaken
  • whether an interpreter is needed, and if so, in what language
  • Medicare number
  • your name
  • your address
  • your telephone and fax number
  • your provider number.

Referrals may be redirected to another specialist paediatric orthopaedic provider or to another service. When this occurs, you and your patient will be notified in writing with an explanation.

This will usually be because the patient can either be seen closer to home, assessed sooner or due to the complexity of the referral. Please discuss this possibility with your patients and their families prior to submitting a referral to the hospital.

What patients need to bring to their appointment

When patients attend their first appointment, please remind them to bring the following items:

  • their appointment letter
  • any letters from their healthcare professionals
  • any X-rays, MRIs, CT scans or ultrasounds (the actual X-ray films or a CD, not just written reports)
  • copies of any other recent tests
  • Medicare card
  • formula, nappies, change of baby clothes, snacks or other necessities.

Alternatives to specialist clinic referrals

Some families may prefer a referral to a private specialist.

These referrals may involve out-of-pocket costs.

For a list of private paediatric orthopaedic surgeons please see:

  • Australian Orthopaedic Association
  • Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.