Useful Management Information

  • Constipated infants < 12 months old should also be referred to community child health services
  • Older children with constipation could also be referred to community child health services
  • Include Bristol Stool Chart: Bristol Stool Chart
  • Abdominal XR not required for referral and is almost always unnecessary
  • If you have a reason to suspect a child in Queensland is experiencing harm, or is at risk of experiencing harm, you need to contact Child Safety Services
  • In the majority of cases it is thought inappropriate for children to wait more than 6 months for an outpatient initial appointment

Minimum Referral Criteria

Does your patient meet the minimum referral criteria?
Category 1 (appointment within 30 calendar days)
  • Infants less than 1 year
  • Significant daily pain and distress in any child
  • Weight loss
  • Spinal, anal or lower limb abnormalities
Category 2 (appointment within 90 calendar days)
  • Children < 6 years who have not previously been diagnosed with chronic constipation and have not responded to adequate doses of laxatives
Category 3 (appointment within 365 calendar days)
  • Children with long term (> 6 months) chronic constipation who have had previous specialist assessment

If your patient does not meet the minimum referral criteria

  • Assessment and management information may be found on a range of conditions at HealthPathways
  • If the patient does not meet the criteria for referral but the referring practitioner believes the patient requires specialist review, a clinical override may be requested:
    • Please explain why (e.g. warning signs or symptoms, clinical modifiers, uncertain about diagnosis, etc.)
  • Please note that your referral may not be accepted or may be redirected to another service

Essential Referral Information

  • Age at onset and duration of constipation
  • Report presence or absence of concerning features
    • Infant less than one year
    • Severe recurrent abdominal pain
    • Weight loss
  • Physical examination, including abdominal examination, spine and lower limbs

Additional Referral Information

Highly desirable information – may change triage category

  • History of abdominal pain including frequency, duration and level of disruption (school missed, emergency presentations)
  • Toileting history - stool frequency, consistency, pain, frequency of soiling, presence of blood
  • Infant feeding information– breast, formula, solids
  • Family history of bowel disorders
  • History of behavioural or psychological disturbance
  • Anal inspection
  • Past history of gastrointestinal disease e.g. necrotising enterocolitis, perianal disease

Desirable information- will assist at consultation

  • Diet history
  • Treatments used for constipation
  • Stool withholding behaviour (apprehensive behaviour such as toilet refusal, hiding while defecation)
  • Other past medical history
  • Developmental history
  • Immunisation history
  • Medication history
  • Significant psychosocial risk factors (especially parents mental health, family violence, housing and financial stress, department of child safety involvement)
  • Height/weight/head circumference and growth charts with prior measurements if available.
  • Other physical examination findings inclusive of CNS, birth marks or dysmorphology
  • Any relevant laboratory results or medical imaging reports, urinalysis result
Last updated 24 October 2021

Send Referrals To

Smart Referrals

Preferred Method
About Smart Referrals

Secure Web Transfer

Send to: Gold Coast Health Service District

Internal Referrals

Paediatric Medicine (E-Blueslips)


(07) 5687 4497


Paediatric Referral Centre
Gold Coast University Hospital
1 Hospital Boulevard
Southport QLD 4215


1300 744 284

Related HealthPathways

No directly related pathways found

Service Availability

Dr Susan Moloney


Gold Coast University Hospital

If you would like to send a named referral, please address it to the specialist listed above, who will allocate a suitably qualified specialist to see the patient. Alternatively, you can view a full list of our specialists.

Child Safety

If you have a reason to suspect a child in Queensland is experiencing harm, or is at risk of experiencing harm, contact Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Services . Please consider if mandatory reporting applies.

Gold Coast Health - For Clinicians
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