New criteria to reduce wait times for eligible patients requiring plastic surgery or with joint or lower back pain

New statewide referral criteria for plastic surgery and joint pain, including lower back pain, came into effect from 1 March 2024 in all Victorian public hospitals.

These criteria provide clear and concise guidance on when a referral for specialist opinion and management is indicated for a limited number of commonly presenting conditions. When a referring GP uses the new referral criteria for plastic surgery or joint pain to refer a patient to a public hospital, patients can be placed directly onto the specialist clinics wait list. The new statewide referral criteria encourage multi-disciplinary assessments to support non-surgical care and, when required appropriate direction to surgical treatment.

We’ve now updated the referral information on the Western Victoria HealthPathways for joint pain and plastics. You can find the new HealthPathways listed below.

Joint pain

Plastic Surgery (focusing on hand and skin lesions)

Statewide referral criteria apply to public hospitals and health services only. They do not apply to private hospitals. Breast Surgery is the next suite of criteria scheduled for release on 1 June 2024, additional specialities set to be released throughout 2024.

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