2.3 Initial referral

2.3 Initial referral

All patients with suspected high-grade glioma should be referred to a neurosurgeon who works in an environment that can ensure ongoing care and is affiliated with a multidisciplinary team (WCMICS 2009).

Patients should be enabled to make informed decisions about their choice of specialist and health service. General practitioners should make referrals in consultation with the patient after considering the clinical care needed, cost implications (see referral options and informed financial consent), waiting periods, location and facilities, including discussing the patient’s preference for health care through the public or the private system.

Referral for suspected or diagnosed high-grade glioma should include the following essential information to accurately triage and categorise the level of clinical urgency:

  • important psychosocial history and relevant medical history
  • concomitant illness and medications
  • family history, current symptoms, medications and allergies
  • results of current clinical investigations (imaging and pathology reports)
  • results of all prior relevant investigations
  • notification if an interpreter service is required.

Many services will reject incomplete referrals, so it is important that referrals comply with all relevant health service criteria.

If access is via online referral, a lack of a hard copy should not delay referral.

The specialist should provide timely communication to the general practitioner about the consultation and should notify the general practitioner if the patient does not attend appointments.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients will need a culturally appropriate referral. To view the optimal care pathway for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the corresponding quick reference guide, visit the Cancer Australia website. Download the consumer resources Guide to best cancer care – Checking for cancer and Guide to best cancer care – Cancer from the Cancer Australia website.

If there is a high suspicion of high-grade glioma, patients should be referred to an appropriate neurosurgeon affiliated with a multidisciplinary team within 24 hours of the patient presenting with symptoms. Healthcare providers should provide clear routes of rapid access to specialist evaluation.