Medical practitioners: referrals to public dental services

Routine referrals

Before referring a patient, first check that they meet the eligibility criteria.

Eligible patients can self-refer by contacting their local public dental service. They will be triaged and prioritised for care based on their clinical condition.

Patients who are not eligible should be advised to contact their preferred private dental provider.

Urgent medical referrals

If an eligible patient must be urgently referred ahead of specific life-saving medical care (e.g. radiotherapy, chemotherapy, organ transplant, open heart surgery), medical practitioners can use HealthPathways to determine the best referral pathway (see below), or contact a local public dental service directly.

Primary Health Networks and HealthPathways

In 2015, the Australian Government established 31 Primary Health Networks (PHNs) as independent primary health care organisations throughout Australia. The PHNs aim to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and coordination of health services.

Each PHN maintains its own HealthPathways website that provides information on how to assess and manage medical conditions and referral pathways to local specialists and services.

Your local HealthPathways website should include instructions on managing dental conditions and referral to nearby dental services (both public and private). To access them:

  1. Find your local PHN and follow the links to the PHN’s website.
  2. Find the link to your PHN’s HealthPathway on the PHN’s website, and log in. Note that some PHN’s may require you to request access from an administrator.
  3. Search for “dental” on the HealthPathways homepage.
Current as at: Tuesday 2 May 2023