Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Red flags

If any of the following are present or suspected, refer the patient to the emergency department (via ambulance if necessary).

  • Acute exacerbation not responding to outpatient therapy
  • Acute respiratory failure

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

  • COPD with chronic respiratory failure
  • COPD with worsening right heart failure

Category 2

Appointment within 90 days is desirable

  • Recurrent (>3 in 12 months) acute exacerbations or acute presentations to emergency
  • Uncontrolled but stable symptoms on daily basis that limit ADLs / Class 4 dyspnoea
  • Requiring assessment for oxygen therapy
  • COPD with demonstrated severe airflow obstruction (FEV1 <40%)

Category 3

Appointment within 365 days is desirable

  • Stable COPD for consideration for pulmonary rehabilitation or education (where community services are not available)

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

  • Refer to HealthPathways for assessment and management information if available

Referral requirements

A referral may be rejected without the following information.

  • Duration and severity of symptoms including impact on ADLs
  • Current and previous treatment and efficacy
  • Comorbidities
  • Smoking / occupational history
  • Spirometry (if available)
  • CXR (within last 12 months)

Additional referral information (useful for processing the referral)

  • History of childhood/adolescent lung disease
  • SaO2 or ABG
  • Vaccination status
  • FBC, ELFT results
  • Respiratory function tests
  • Exercise oximetry
  • 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

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

Health pathways

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