Page 3517 - Week 10 - Thursday, 20 October 2022

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1) Unit (GEHU) has received 1,460 referrals that were referred for positive Faecal Occult Blood (FOB) tests. 888 of the 1,460 referrals were patients who were deemed appropriate for the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP).

A General Practitioner (GP) stating a referral is urgent is not always deemed clinically urgent when triaged by the specialist. All patients triaged as urgent, or Category 1 are booked in the appropriate timeframe. If a referral is triaged as either Category 2 or Category 3, the NBCSP Registered Nurse (RN) will review these referrals and discuss the triaged category with the specialist to determine if the patient is suitable to be referred to the NBCSP.

2) A patient is booked for a NBCSP based on the category of urgency the specialist triages a patient as (category 1 within 30 days, category 2 within 90 days, and category 3 within 1 year). Specifically, patients who are triaged as suitable for the NBCSP are all booked as a priority with the NBCSP clinic. Once the referral has been identified, the NBCSP registered nurse will also review these referrals. Each patient is booked an appointment within four weeks of the referral being received.

3) All specialists are up to date with triaging.

4) Referrals can be received by email, fax or physically handed in by a patient. Faxed referrals are often converted to an email by the “rightfax” system. Referrals that are received as physical documents (either by fax or from the patient) are immediately scanned to the referrals team for registration. With the introduction of the Digital Health Record (DHR), referrals will be able to be sent to CHS via a Health Link Smart Form.

5) GPs receive a letter when their patient has been triaged and placed on the waiting list for a consult or a procedure. Regarding the consult letter, the GP is informed of the category of urgency their patient has been assessed as. Procedure waiting list letters do not provide the category of urgency, however when the specialist reviews the patient in clinic, they provide a dictated letter to the GP regarding the procedure and will often advise of the category of urgency of the procedure. There is currently no automated way that GPs are updated when the status of a referral is changed, and this has not changed since the 2015 Auditor-General’s report.

With the introduction of the DHR, if a GP chooses to refer using the Health Link Smart Form, the benefits include:

Knowing that the referral has been securely received at its intended location;

Visibility of updates on the referral triage, status and booking notification for the first appointment;

Referral is in sync with the DHR; and

Reduced administrative time to get the referral triaged.

6) The recommendations from the 2015 Auditor-General’s report have been implemented.

Health—paediatric early warning system review
(Question No 905)

Ms Castley asked the Minister for Health, upon notice, on 23 September 2022:

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