Dermatology  |  Referrals & Advice


Referrals & Advice

To access the grading criteria used currently which is used to accept or decline referrals for skin surgery via the WBOPPHO please click here. Lesions with a score of 100 will be accepted and some of those with a score of 80. Below this is it unlikely that the surgical removal of the lesion will be funded. 

Before using the Skin Surgery Service, make sure that you have read the Skin Surgery Briefing Notes.

Contact details are:
Postal: WBOP PHO, Skin Surgery Service, PO Box 13225, Tauranga 3141
Fax: 07 577 3191 Phone: 07 577 3190

Who is eligible?

  • A patient who has one of the entitled skin lesions.
  • The patient is referred by a General Practitioner.
  • The patient resides in the Tauranga District, the Western Bay of Plenty District, Mayor Island, or Motiti Island.


Which skin lesions are entitled under the Skin Surgery Service?

  • Pigmented when histology indicates the following types:

    • Melanoma.
    • Melanoma in situ.
    • Dysplastic naevus.
    • Other pigmented cutaneous malignancy.

  • Non-pigmented when biopsy testing indicates the following types:

    • Basal cell carcinoma.
    • Squamous cell carcinoma including in situ.
    • Other non-pigmented cutaneous malignancies including keratoacanthoma.

  • Suspicious lesions:

    • Excision of any suspicious pigmented or non-pigmented lesions not of a type set out under the exclusions below.


Which skin lesions are NOT entitled under the Skin Surgery Service:

  • Sebhorrhoeic keratoses.
  • Lipomas.
  • Sebaceous cysts.
  • Warts.
  • Solar keratoses.
  • All other non-malignant lesions not listed above.


How do I refer a patient to the Skin Surgery Service?

  • All referrals for skin cancer lesions must be made to the Skin Surgery Service and not the Tauranga Hospital Referral Centre. This is done by:

    • Best Practice: Select the relevant patient in your electronic patient record system and then go to the Best Practice main menu. Select 'Skin Surgery Service' to start the electronic referral process.

    • If Best Practice is not available to you, you may complete the paper referral form and post/fax it to the Skin Surgery Service at
      WBoP PHO, Skin Surgery Service, PO Box 13225, Tauranga 3141
      Fax: 07 577 3191 Phone: 07 577 3190

  • A punch biopsy of the lesion and a full skin assessment is required before referral. There are two variations to this rule:Note that the patient is responsible for paying for any Punch Biopsy or Full Skin Assessment done by their doctor or by the assessing doctor.

    • Where a doctor seeks a second opinion, they may refer the patient to the Skin Surgery Service who will arrange a GPSI to provide that opinion.

    • Where a doctor does not feel competent to assess the patient, they may refer the patient to the Skin Surgery Service who will arrange for an assessment to occur.

  • The Skin Surgery Service has engaged an independent clinician to assist in the processing of referrals. At the end of each month, referrals shall be considered and scored against the Surgical Priority Schedule and the General Scoring Criteria. Lesions will be placed in descending order of priority. Funds will be assigned going down the schedule until the funds are fully assigned. Where a referral is of particular clinical urgency, consideration may occur more immediately. This will be an exception to the rule however. The referrer will need to justify this in the 'Clinical Lesion Notes' section of the electronic referral form.

    • All lesions require skin surgery service approval if funding is to be assigned. Any surgery undertaken without approval will not be funded.

    • Funding is approved lesion by lesion with a maximum of three approved lesions per day.

Credentialling/Recredentialling process for GPs:


Faster Cancer Treatment:

  • High Suspicion of cancer definition for Melanoma

Last updated : Friday, October 27, 2017
Next review date : Saturday, October 27,2018

Disclaimer: This site is intended to be flexible and frequently updated. While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, all information should be verified.