About the Central Referral Service

7 December 2023 Update: The Central Referral Service (CRS) is aware of numerous general practices experiencing difficulties in sending referrals via online fax to the CRS from Monday 27 November to Wednesday 6 December 2023.

The CRS has been advised this issue is now resolved.

Please refer to communications faxed to general practices on 7 December 2023 for further information. Alternatively, contact CRS via 1300 551 142 or central.referralservice@health.wa.gov.au

The Central Referral Service (CRS) was introduced in 2014 to better manage external referrals for patients requiring a first specialist outpatient appointment within the public health system. The CRS represents a fundamental change to the way in which patients are referred to initial specialist outpatient appointments.

Benefits of the CRS

The CRS provides a coordinated and sustainable model for outpatient referral management across the health system. This supports patients to receive care within a clinically-appropriate timeframe, and in the most suitable location.

The CRS aims to produce benefits for referrers and their patients, including:

  • improved patient access and reduced patient delays
  • standardised, streamlined referral process with increasing electronic functionality over time
  • allocation of patients to the most appropriate hospital – taking into account considerations listed above as well as demand measures across the system
  • improved tracking, auditing and reporting of referrals so that referrers and their patients will be better informed about the progress of the referral
  • an enhanced level of information available to referrers at the point of referral.

How to refer a patient through CRS

To refer a patient, referrers will need to complete one of the standardised referral forms and send it to the CRS. The CRS prefers referral forms sent by secure messaging. Referrals are sent via secure messaging at, Healthlink Secure Messaging: crefserv.

Experienced nurses will then allocate the referral to the most appropriate hospital for each patient based on:

  • location
  • specialty
  • level of health service required.

Patients suitable for CRS

The CRS has been set up to allocate referrals for a first specialist outpatient appointment at clinics within, or part of, a public hospital in the Perth metropolitan area, and select regional outpatient services. The CRS accepts referrals for a number of doctor-led specialities - for a full list of specialties in and out of scope of CRS please see The Central Referral Service Scope (PDF 177KB).

The CRS isn’t suitable for all patients. We ask that referrals for patients requiring immediate review (within the next 7 days) to be sent directly to the relevant hospital.

In addition, the CRS should not be used for patients referred to:

  • a private specialist
  • mental health services
  • regional outpatient services except for select public specialties in the South West region (including Collie Health Service)
  • allied health outpatient services
  • non-doctor led outpatient services
  • Antenatal and Obstetric services.

The Central Referral Service Guide for Referrers (PDF 291KB) contains more details on which specialties are suitable to be referred through the CRS.

CRS resources

More information

Sending referrals to the CRS

Healthlink Secure Messaging: crefserv
Fax: 1300 365 056 
Postal address: GPO Box 2566, St Georges Terrace, WA 6831

Referrals are only accepted by CRS via secure messaging, fax or post.

General enquiries

Phone: 1300 551 142
Email the CRS

Last reviewed: 13-11-2023
Produced by

System Clinical Support and Innovation Unit