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
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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