Unintentional weight loss

Emergency department referrals

All urgent cases must be discussed with the on call Registrar to obtain appropriate prioritisation and treatment. Contact through:

  • Caboolture Hospital (07) 5433 8888
  • Redcliffe Hospital (07) 3883 7777
  • Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital (07) 3646 8111
  • The Prince Charles Hospital (07) 3139 4000

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.

If any of the following are present or suspected, please refer the patient to the emergency department (via ambulance if necessary) or seek emergent medical advice if in a remote region:

  • Uncontrolled hyperthyroidism with risk of thyroid storm
  • Vomiting, dysphagia or odynophagia suggesting oesophageal or gastric outlet obstruction
  • Associated severe electrolyte abnormalities (K+ <3.0 mmol/l, corrected Ca+ <1.6 or >3.0 mmol/l, Mg+ <0.5 mmol/l, PO4- <0.4mmol/l)

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

  • Significant weight loss (≥10% of body weight in previous 6 months) without anaemia*
  • Clinical features or test results suggestive of disseminated malignancy
  • Marked cachexia or malnutrition
  • Suspected malabsorption syndromes
  • Post-prandial angina
  • Uncontrolled anxiety or depression or pain syndromes causing marked loss of appetite and associated weight loss
  • BMI <15 Kg/m²*

Category 2

Appointment within 90 days is desirable

  • Unexplained weight loss (5-10% of body weight in previous 6 months)*


* Suspected or confirmed eating disorders should be managed in accordance with the Queensland Eating Disorder Service A guide to admission and inpatient treatment for people with eating disorders in Queensland

Category 3

Appointment within 365 days is desirable

  • No category 3 criteria

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

Referral requirements

A referral may be rejected without the following information.

History and Examination

  • Relevant medical history and co-morbidities
  • Full list of current medications including non-prescription medications
  • Weight, height and BMI
  • Exact weight loss and time period of loss
  • Any associated symptoms (e.g. cough, abdominal pain, change in bowel habits)
  • Alcohol and drug history (including smoking)
  • Assessment of mood and social situation (depression is a common cause of weight loss)
  • Appetite and recent dietary changes

Pathology and Test Results

  • FBC, ELFT, ESR/CRP, TSH, iron studies, vitamin B12 & folate results
  • Coeliac disease antibodies in younger patients (aged < 40 years old) with associated iron deficiency

Additional Referral Information (Useful for processing the referral)

History and Examination

  • Food intolerances or avoidances and abnormal eating behaviours
  • Gastrointestinal or oral symptoms especially dysphagia, diarrhoea, gum disease, poor dentition, loss of taste

Pathology and Test Results

  • HbA1c results (if diabetic)

Imaging and reports

  • CXR (if indicated)

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.)

Send referral

Hotline: 1300 364 938

Fax: 1300 364 952

Electronic: eReferral system templates
Medical Objects ID: MQ40290004P
HealthLink EDI: qldmnhhs

Mail: Metro North Central Patient Intake
Aspley Community Centre
776  Zillmere Road

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