What proportion of paediatric specialist referrals originates from general practitioners?

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 2018, 54 (2), pp. 183 - 187
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© 2017 Paediatrics and Child Health Division (The Royal Australasian College of Physicians) Aim: To determine (i) the proportion of different referral sources for new referrals to paediatric specialist outpatient clinics and (ii) any association of referral source with utilisation of additional health services. Methods: Survey of parents presenting with their child at five paediatric specialist outpatient clinics at two Melbourne public hospitals. Results: Just over half (52%) of the respondents were referred by a general practitioner (GP). The remainder were referred by a paediatrician (27%) at hospital discharge (16%) or from the ED (6%). Most respondents (71%) reported that their child also has a referral to see another specialist for the same health concern but had not yet had the consultation; 44% had consulted another doctor for the same health concern between receiving the referral and the appointment. Paediatrician referrals were more likely to see another specialist for the same health concern compared to other referral sources (P = 0.032). Conclusion: Only half of the referrals of new patients to paediatric specialist outpatient clinics come from GPs. Future research should investigate whether multiple referral sources have a negative impact on the co-ordination and cost of paediatric health care.
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