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Skin and soft tissue pathology – benign and malignant

Find assessment and management information at Brisbane South HealthPathways under:

Useful management information

  • Advise patient regarding sun avoidance and appropriate use of sun screens
  • Educate patient on skin cancer surveillance and arrange annual skin checks

Minimum referral criteria (Does your patient meet the minimum criteria?)

Does your patient meet the minimum referral criteria?

Category 1
(appointment within 30 calendar days)

If you feel your patient meets Category 1 criteria, please mark “urgent” on your referral

  • Skin lesion highly suspicious for melanoma or excision biopsy proven melanoma – including re-excision
  • High degree of clinical suspicion
  • Large SCC, BCC
  • Rapidly growing skin lesions especially on the face
  • Non-melanoma skin malignancies and any of the following:
    • ulceration and bleeding
    • rapidly enlarging
    • neurological involvement
    • lymphadenopathy
  • Poorly differentiated or infiltrative tumour on biopsy
  • Soft tissue tumour with atypical features
  • Ingrown toenail with infection having failed primary care management
Category 2
(appointment within 90 calendar days)
  • Small truncal or peripheral limb BCC or SCC or IEC
Category 3
(appointment within 365 calendar days)
  • Benign soft tissue lesions e.g. lipoma ganglion not suitable for primary health management

If your patient does not meet the minimum referral criteria

  • Assessment and management information can be found on a range of conditions at Brisbane South HealthPathways
  • If the patient does not meet the criteria for referral but the referring practitioner believes the patient requires specialist review, a clinical override may be requested:
    • Please explain why (e.g. warning signs or symptoms, clinical modifiers, uncertain about diagnosis, etc.)
  • Please note that your referral may not be accepted or may be redirected to another service

Standard referral information (To be included in all referrals)

Reason for request

  • To establish a diagnosis
  • For treatment or intervention
  • For advice and management
  • For specialist to take over management
  • Reassurance for GP/second opinion
  • For a specified test/investigation the GP can't order, or the patient can't afford or access
  • Reassurance for the patient/family
  • For other reason (e.g. rapidly accelerating disease progression)
  • Clinical judgement indicates a referral for specialist review is necessary

Relevant clinical information about the condition

  • Presenting symptoms (evolution and duration)
  • Physical findings
  • Details of previous treatment (including systemic and topical medications prescribed) including the course and outcome of the treatment
  • All conservative options that have been pursued unsuccessfully prior to referral
  • Body mass index (BMI)
  • Details of any associated medical conditions which may affect the condition or its treatment (e.g. diabetes, BMI), noting these must be stable and controlled prior to referral
  • Any special care requirements where relevant (e.g tracheostomy in place, oxygen required)
  • Current medications and dosages
  • Drug allergies
  • Alcohol, tobacco and other drugs use
  • A comprehensive capture of information in relation to MSH Referral Criteria

Clinical modifiers

  • The presence of clinical modifiers may impact the categorisation of the patient.
  • Impact on employment
  • Impact on education
  • Impact on home
  • Impact on activities of daily living functioning – low/medium/high
  • Impact on ability to care for others
  • Impact on personal frailty or safety
  • Identifies as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander

Patient's Demographic Details

  • Full name (including aliases)
  • Date and country of birth
  • Residential and postal address including whether patient resides at an aged care facility
  • Telephone contact number/s – home, mobile and alternative
  • Medicare number (where eligible)
  • Name of the parent or caregiver (if appropriate)
  • Name of delegate and contact details (Department of Corrective Services)
  • Preferred language and interpreter requirements
  • Identifies as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
  • Any special needs, access requirements and/or disability relevant to the referral

Referring Practitioner Details

  • Full name
  • Full address
  • Contact details – telephone, fax, email
  • Provider number
  • Date of referral
  • Signature
  • Nominated general practitioner’s details (if known), if the nominated general practitioner is different from the referring practitioner

Other relevant information

  • Willingness to have surgery (where surgery is a likely intervention)
  • Choice to be treated as a public or private patient
  • Compensable status (e.g. DVA, Work Cover, Motor Vehicle Insurance, etc.)


Essential referral information for Skin and soft tissue pathology – benign and malignant referrals (Referral will be returned without this)

  • Pigmented lesion features: size, shape, colour, inflammation, oozing, change in sensation
  • Notate location and position of the lesion

If a specific test result is unable to be obtained due to access, financial, religious, cultural or consent reasons a Clinical Override may be requested. This reason must be clearly articulated in the body of the referral.

Additional referral information for Skin and soft tissue pathology – benign and malignant referrals

  • Biopsy results unless clinically contraindicated. Excision biopsy is the preferred method for biopsy suspected melanoma
  • Smoking status 
  • Anticoagulation therapy
  • USS of lesion (for a suspicious lipoma) if available
  • CT results – if malignancy suspected
  • Photograph – with patient’s consent, where secure image transfer, identification and storage is possible

Out of catchment

Metro South Health is responsible for providing public health services to the people who reside within its boundaries. Special consideration is made for patients requiring tertiary care or services that are not provided by their local Hospital and Health Service.  If your patient lives outside the Metro South Health area and you wish to refer them to one of our services, inclusion of information regarding their particular medical and social factors will assist with the triaging of your referral.

Last updated 18 December 2023