New criteria for eligible patients requiring general surgery for a range of breast conditions

  3 June 2024  NWMPHN   

New statewide referral criteria for select breast conditions potentially requiring general surgery, came into effect from 1 June 2024 in all Victorian public hospitals.

When a referring GP successfully uses the new general surgery criteria to refer a patient to a public hospital, patients can be triaged more accurately and be placed directly onto the appropriate specialist clinics wait list without delay.

The referral information encourages multi-disciplinary assessments to support non-surgical care and, when required appropriate direction to surgical treatment through the statewide referral criteria.

This is why more information is needed in referrals – to support better access for patients.

The Victorian Department of Health has developed and published statewide referral criteria for five breast conditions within the general surgery speciality suite.

General surgery – breast conditions:

The general surgery suite is among 15 suites of statewide referral criteria already in existence across Victoria.

GPs and other primary care providers can visit HealthPathways or equivalent care pathways sites, or to find these and the other statewide referral criteria.

Statewide referral criteria provide referring clinicians clear and consistent guidance about which patients can be seen in public specialist clinics across Victoria and what investigations are necessary to support accurate prioritisation of referrals.

GPs and other primary care providers are encouraged to check their local HealthPathways or care pathways website when making referrals – this will be the quickest way to understand for them to understand their local referral options.

It is also a helpful way to troubleshoot management of these conditions when a referral to specialist clinics is not indicated. GPs can visit visit to view the criteria.

Statewide referral criteria apply to public hospitals and health services only. They do not apply to private hospitals. Additional specialities are set to be released throughout 2024.