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
Medical Director Paediatric Medicine (General Paediatrics)


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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