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Referral Acceptance

Rheumatology referrals are prioritised by Senior Medical Officers based on the information contained within. Additional information should be attached where available. The priorisation tool used to triage referrals can be found below under Access Criteria.

All accepted referrals will be seen within a maximum waiting time of 4 months, unless there is a clinical reason for delay.

Please note that Arthritis New Zealand no longer has offices in the Bay of Plenty. This means they do not run group sessions anymore. Their toll free number is 0800 663 463.  

Referral acceptance is a follows:

First Specialist Assessments

Waiting priority 1


Waiting priority 2


Waiting priority 3


Waiting priority 4


Access Criteria

Category Criteria Examples (not an exhaustive list)

1 - Urgent

  • Acute Rheumatological Emergencies with
    treat to life or major
  • Giant Cell arteritis
  • Systemic Vasculitis
  • SLE
  • Septic arthritis
  • Polyarticular gout and systemically unwell

2 - Semi-Urgent
(Not accepted)

  • Potential destructive inflammatory arthritis
    requiring early DMARD treatment or
  • Seropositive RA
  • Polymyalgia rheumatica
  • Polyorticular gout
  • Inflammatory polyarthritis

3 - Routine
(Not accepted)

  • Suspected inflammatory rheumatological
  • Non-inflammatory
    conditions with major
    social impact (e.g. loss of employment)
  • Referrals from hospital specialist
  • Acute soft tissue problems requiring intervention

4 - Non-Urgent
(Not accepted)

  • Non-inflammatory disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Soft Tissue Rheumatism
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Other chronic pain syndromes
  • Chronic osteoarthritis

Children are usually managed by Paediatricians with referral to Rheumatologists or a Paediatric Rheumatologist as required.