​​​NSW Health is the largest provider of outpatient services in Australia, with 8,000 outpatient service units providing more than 17 million service events across 2021 and 2022.

Outpatient services are generally provided in a clinic setting, where patients are not formally admitted to hospital and do not stay overnight. Patients receiving these services could consult specialist medical practitioners, have tests or other procedures, or be provided with allied health care, such as physiotherapy, psychology or podiatry, or specialist nursing care.

Outpatient services enable patient to receive care without admission to hospital; reducing the demand on other parts of the health system, as well as providing a critical link between primary and tertiary health care.

State-wide referral criteria

NSW Health is progressively developing State-wide referral criteria (SRC) for a variety of conditions to support health professionals and patients with referrals to public outpatient services across NSW. The SRC is to be used as a clinical decision-support tool by health professionals to determine when a patient should be referred, what to include within the referral, as well as other important information.

View the criteria

The Management of Outpatient (Non-Admitted) Services Guideline

The Management of Outpatient (Non-Admitted) Services Guideline replaces the NSW Health Outpatient Services Framework. It sets out expectations for the management of outpatient services across NSW public health services so that patients receive care that is responsive, appropriate and focuses on the outcomes that matter to them.

Local health districts and specialty health networks are to use the guideline for the planning and operations of outpatient services with the aim of delivering:

  • Equitable, effective, and environmentally and financially sustainable services that are responsive to community need
  • Timely access to health services
  • Better integration of services across the system
  • Patient-centred care with a focus on outcomes, and
  • Transparent and meaningful performance targets informed by timely and reliable data

Important information for​ patients

​​General practitioners and other referring health​ professionals may refer patients to specialist outpatient services. This can be for a diagnosis, procedure, assessment, treatment and/or education. If you are concerned that your health condition is getting worse, please visit your referring health professional to discuss your condition.

Rela​ted links​

Current as at: Monday 15 January 2024
Contact page owner: System Purchasing