Delivering a Healthy WA
Outpatient and Elective Services Referral  


This website provides general practitioners with guidelines for the referral of patients to outpatient services. They have been developed to ensure that patients are treated in order of relative priority and in a similar manner throughout Western Australia.

What are CPAC?

Clinical Priority Access Criteria (CPAC) is an outpatient categorisation system that allows the prioritising of clinical conditions. CPAC can assist GPs to assess relative patient need, and in doing so ensure that patients who require treatment more urgently are seen first by the outpatient clinic.

Who developed CPAC?

These guidelines have been specifically written for GPs who are referring patients for specialist care. The CPAC guidelines reflect best practice and have been developed by the tertiary heads of departments and clinical specialists from each of the areas using best available evidence. In the absence of evidence based information, the guideline consists of a consensus view of current, generally accepted clinical practice. They should be used only as an aid for clinical decision making and in conjunction with other information available.

What are CPAC used for?

CPAC are used to select and prioritise patients for outpatient services in Western Australian hospitals. The objective of CPAC is to provide more comprehensive information with each new GP referral to hospital specialists and therefore achieve the following:

  • Reduce inappropriate referrals
  • Commence specialist assessment and treatment more quickly
  • Involve the GP in the patient’s hospital care
  • Reduce duplication of investigations
  • Reduce waiting time for outpatient based on clinical priority.

How to use these guidelines:

Step 1 Go to Guidelines for First Specialist Assessment.
Step 2 Based on provisional diagnosis, search Specialist Area (eg. cardiology, ENT).
Step 3 Follow suggested evaluation and management options for condition.
Step 4 Complete the appropriate referral form and suggest CPAC category as per guidelines.
Step 5 Forward the appropriate referral form and other information to hospital or as instructed by guideline.

For information on CPAC category definitions go to the CPAC Summary located on the content page.

The referral guidelines and Clinical Priority Access Criteria (CPAC) summaries cover many commonly referred conditions for patients.

Please contact Princess Margaret Hospital for Children on (08) 9340 8222 to page the On Call Specialist or Registrar if you have any concerns regarding the management plans of your paediatric / adolescent patients.

Please contact King Edward Memorial Hospital on (08) 9340 8222 to page the on call specialist or registrar if you have any concerns regarding management plans for your patient.


WA Health acknowledges the heads of department and other specialists who contributed their time and expertise to review and update the guidelines.

The CPAC guidelines will be reviewed on an annual basis by the appropriate heads of department and specialists to ensure that they remain relevant. If you have feedback and suggestions please email

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