Useful Management Information

  • Children with hip pain and potential orthopaedic diagnosis (e.g. perthe’s disease, slipped epiphysis, hip dysplasia and others) should be referred directly to orthopaedics
  • 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)
  • Lower limb joint pain persistently unable to weight bear
  • Suspected hip dysplasia in an infant <6 months
  • Association suggests inflammatory bowel disease
  • Rheumatic fever
Category 2 (appointment within 90 calendar days)
  • Undiagnosed cause of joint or musculoskeletal pain that is not listed in Category 1
  • Children with hip pain following orthopaedic consultation and excluding orthopaedic conditions
Category 3 (appointment within 365 calendar days)
  • Known chronic musculoskeletal condition that is unlikely to deteriorate

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

  • History of joint symptoms. Note duration, joints or regions involved
  • Report presence or absence of concerning features
    • Persistent fevers
    • Weight loss (how much?)
    • Rash
    • Diarrhoea or bloody stools
    • Abdominal pain
    • Focal neurological signs
    • Wasting

Additional Referral Information

Highly desirable Information – may change triage category

  • Detailed history of joint pain - diurnal or day to day variation, exercise symptoms
  • Family history of joint problems or inflammatory bowel disease
  • Recent respiratory or skin infections or systemic viral illness
  • Physical examination including heart sounds if rheumatic fever or post streptococcal arthritis considered
  • Burden of disease; school missed, ability to participate in usual activities, dependency for activities of daily living/hygiene/dressing
  • Joint examination findings – swelling, range of motion, erythema, heat

Desirable Information- will assist at consultation

  • Other past medical history
  • Immunisation history
  • Developmental history
  • Medication history
  • Significant psychosocial risk factors (esp 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
  • Investigations as appropriate to clinical presentation:
    • consider XR of hips or knees if involved
    • consider FBC ESR ELFT
    • consider rheumatologic and serological investigations for autoimmune or post infectious causes if appropriate. These investigations are not required for categorisation
Last updated 7 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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