Comprehensive Osteoarthritis Pathway (COAP)

Timely and comprehensive assessment, monitoring, co-ordination and management planning of adults diagnosed with osteoarthritis (OA) of either the hip or knee.  Clinics are undertaken by advanced skilled physiotherapists in close liaison with the RHH Orthopaedic Department.


North South North West Statewide


  • Emergency patients with hip and/or knee pain are referred directly to the RHH Emergency Department for orthopaedic assessment.
  • Refer all other patients (urgent, semi-urgent and routine) with osteoarthritis of the hip and/or knee if unresponsive to conservative therapy and with:
    • Significant pain and analgesic requirement
    • Pain interfering with activities of daily living
    • Problems relating to mobility
    • Pain causing sleep disturbance
    • Deteriorating quality of life


  • Patients assessed as requiring urgent orthopaedic assessment will be referred directly to an Orthopaedic Consultant
  • All other (semi-urgent/routine) patients with hip and knee osteoarthritis will attend the COAP clinic

Emergency conditions

Suspected infection should be referred IMMEDIATELY to the Emergency Department

Referral process

A referral (preferably faxed) is required for all new appointments and must conform to the Referral Standards as outlined on For Clinicians.

Specific requirements are detailed in the individual clinic and condition referral guidelines.

Referrals are registered by the clinic to which they are referred and are triaged according to the specific clinic guidelines.

Clinic Appointments – Appointments are based on clinical priority.

Referral template

For use by health professionals only

Additional information

RACGP: Guidelines Musculoskeletal

Information for GPs about COAP