Emergency referrals

All urgent cases must be discussed with the on call ENT Registrar. Contact through Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital (07) 3646 8111 to obtain appropriate prioritisation and treatment.

Urgent cases accepted via phone must be accompanied with a written referral and a copy faxed immediately to the Central Patient Intake Unit: 1300 364 952.

Does your patient wish to be referred?

Minimum referral criteria

Does your patient meet the minimum referral criteria?

Category 1

Appointment within 30 days is desirable

  • No category 1 criteria

Category 2

Appointment within 90 days is desirable

  • No category 2 criteria

Category 3

Appointment within 365 days is desirable

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) refractory to repeated canalith repositioning manoeuvres (> 3 treatments)
  • Co-morbid vestibular or otological conditions
  • Patients where particle repositioning is not advised due to limited range of movement in the neck, or due to general mobility issues that cannot be managed by a physiotherapist/ vestibular physiotherapist
  • Symptoms not resolved after seeing vestibular physiotherapist

If your patient does not meet the minimum referral criteria

Consider other treatment pathways or an alternative diagnosis.

If you still need to refer your patient:

  • 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

Other important information for referring practitioners

Not an exhaustive list

  • Exclude central cause of vertigo (cardiac/respiratory)
  • Perform Hallpike test and Head Impulse Test (HIT) to determine likely cause of vertigo
  • If BPPV likely based on symptoms and a positive Hallpike, then treat with canalith repositioning manoeuvre (Epleys or BBQ roll) and consider referral to a physiotherapist/vestibular physiotherapist
  • If HIT positive with acute vertigo, consider vestibular neuritis
  • Consider migraine associated vertigo and if appropriate consider trial of
    • Pizotifen 0.5mg to 1mg orally, at night, up to 3mg daily or
    • Propranalol 40mg orally, 2-3 times daily, up to 320mg or
    • Verapamil (sustained release) 160 or 180mg orally, once daily, up to 320 or 360mg daily
  • Arrange diagnostic audiological assessment and/or vestibular testing
  • Review of current medications
  • Occupational therapy home assessment for falls prevention
  • Consider advice regarding safe driving/licencing

Referral requirements

A referral may be rejected without the following information.

  • Description of:
    • onset, duration, frequency and quality
    • functional impact of vertigo
    • any associated otological/neurological symptoms
    • any previous diagnosis of vertigo (attach correspondence)
    • any treatments (medication/other) previously tried, duration of trial and effect
    • any previous investigations/imaging results
    • hearing/balance symptoms
    • past history of middle ear disease/surgery
  • Diagnostic audiology assessment

Additional useful information (useful for processing the referral)

  • History of:
    • cardiovascular problems
    • neck problems
    • neurological
    • auto immune conditions
    • eye problems
    • previous head injury

Out of catchment

Metro North Health is responsible for providing public health services to the people who reside within its boundaries. Special consideration is made for patients requiring tertiary care or services that are not provided by their local Hospital and Health Service. If your patient lives outside the Metro North Health area and you wish to refer them to one of our services, inclusion of information regarding their particular medical and social factors will assist with the triaging of your referral.

  • Impact on employment
  • Impact on education
  • Impact on home
  • Impact on activities of daily living
  • Impact on ability to care for others
  • Impact on personal frailty or safety
  • Identifies as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
  • To establish a diagnosis
  • For treatment or intervention
  • For advice and management
  • For specialist to take over management
  • Reassurance for GP/second opinion
  • For a specified test/investigation the GP can’t order, or the patient can’t afford or access
  • Reassurance for the patient/family
  • For other reason (e.g. rapidly accelerating disease progression)
  • Clinical judgement indicates a referral for specialist review is necessary
  • Presenting symptoms (evolution and duration)
  • Physical findings
  • Details of previous treatment (including systemic and topical medications prescribed) including the course and outcome of the treatment
  • Body mass index (BMI)
  • Details of any associated medical conditions which may affect the condition or its treatment (e.g. diabetes), noting these must be stable and controlled prior to referral
  • Current medications and dosages
  • Drug allergies
  • Alcohol, tobacco and other drugs use
  • Full name (including aliases)
  • Date of birth
  • Residential and postal address
  • Telephone contact number/s – home, mobile and alternative
  • Medicare number (where eligible)
  • Name of the parent or caregiver (if appropriate)
  • Preferred language and interpreter requirements
  • Identifies as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
  • Full name
  • Full address
  • Contact details – telephone, fax, email
  • Provider number
  • Date of referral
  • Signature
  • Willingness to have surgery (where surgery is a likely intervention)
  • Choice to be treated as a public or private patient
  • Compensable status (e.g. DVA, Work Cover, Motor Vehicle Insurance, etc.)
Back to top