Referral process

  • What to know about RCH Autism-related Services

    • The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) Melbourne is committed to providing best care for children with developmental and/or autism concerns, and their families. 
    • For many families, this may mean that RCH is not the best place to address the concerns identified. This is because best developmental care and support is commonly delivered as promptly, and as close to home as possible. 
    • Clinicians and teams across the RCH are available to help families and referrers direct children to the best possible service to meet their current needs. 

    What if I am not sure what this child needs most at this stage?

    • You are not alone. This can be a confusing and complex pathway for caregivers, service providers and young people.
    • The RCH has a new “Stepped Care” Team that will be able to assist. Their details are on the “Contact Us” page in this section. 

    What to think about before referring to the RCH for autism-related services?

    • What does this child need now? What are the main concerns?
    • What services close to home, in the child’s community, may meet his or her needs at this time?
    • Do I have all I need to know before making a referral? Usually this includes:
      • Child’s details such as age, date of birth, address, phone number, postcode, caregiver names etc. 
      • Main developmental concerns
      • Family background/social situation
      • Current services accessed, referred to or in the past. Please attach any available reports as appropriate. 

    These pieces of information are needed in order to ensure children are placed with the most appropriate service to meet their needs.

    Referrals are mainly accepted from internal and external Paediatricians and General Practitioners. If you are a teacher, nurse, or allied health professional, please advise the family that they will require a referral from their medical care provider and this should be initiated as soon as possible. The Stepped Care and Developmental Intake Team can help if needed. Please see the “Contact us” page for more details. 

    For external referrers

    Please send a letter detailing the above points to RCH Developmental Intake, via fax number (03) 9345 5034, or download and fax the completed outpatient clinic referral form to (03) 9345 5034.

    For internal referrers

    Please send an internal inbasket referral, via EPIC to Autism Intake or Developmental Intake. Please ensure the above information is included in your referral reason, or recent clinic letter (attached to referral in EPIC. 

    If the child has not had a recent hearing assessment, please refer the child to an audiologist locally, or at RCH. Please see the RCH audiology page for more information.

    Medical Practitioners / Paediatricians - please indicate if you wish RCH to provide ongoing management, or if just assessment is required. Please use/suggest appropriate Medicare codes and provide information about relevant codes that may or may not have been used in the past.

    Please note the RCH does not offer ongoing therapy services for children with developmental care needs generally. These are best provided locally in community settings, by preferred providers that are relevant to the child’s and family’s needs. It is likely that referrals requesting these type of services will be redirected to community services outside the hospital.

    In 2020, our new Stepped Care Team was established. This is a team of specialist clinicians that now manage all referrals to the hospital where developmental concerns, including autism concerns, are identified. They are available Monday to Friday for referral advice.  

    Please phone 9345 4631 to discuss relevant any concerns or service needs with a member of this team, or to clarify the internal or external referral process.