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Patient transport and movement

Patient Transport

Transport is a key part of healthcare, enabling access to assessment and treatment for people experiencing general health or mental health problems. The Queensland Interagency Agreement for Safe Transport of People Accessing Mental Health Assessment, Treatment and Care 2019 supports interagency collaboration between Hospital and Health Services, Queensland Ambulance Service and the Queensland Police Service, in ensuring the safe transport of people with a mental illness across Queensland. Whilst this document is not legally binding, the agreement acts as a broad guide for interagency management of mental health patient transport.

Engaging our Interstate Partners

The development of cross-border arrangements for people under involuntary mental health orders continues to be a focus of national mental health planning. The Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan requires governments to improve consistency across jurisdictions in mental health legislation with a view to ensuring seamless and safe care for consumers, in particular those who move between jurisdictions.

Agreements provide a clear framework by which a person may be relocated interstate within the complexities of the legislative provisions of each state. Apprehension of patients from interstate occurs infrequently however the impacts for patients can be significant. It is therefore important to have Agreements in place to ensure quality and safe treatment and care for mental health patients, including timely actions in responding to crisis situations.

Interstate Agreements

New South Wales

The Queensland Health Office of the Chief Psychiatrist has been working closely with our colleagues in NSW to draft a Memorandum of Agreement on Interstate Application of Mental Health Laws. The Agreement was prescribed by regulation by the NSW Parliament on 16 November 2018. The new combined civil and forensic Agreement provides for:

  • Reciprocal arrangements between the states for cross border examination and assessment of mental health patients
  • Planned interstate transfers of civil involuntary patients
  • Apprehension and return of certain interstate persons who are absent without approval from Queensland or NSW.

Additional resources to support the Agreement are also being developed in consultation with our interstate partners, including a guideline and checklists to support services operationalising the Agreement.

Jurisdictions Pending Agreement

The Queensland Health Office of the Chief Psychiatrist continues extensive consultation between our office and other jurisdictions including Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory  to develop new Agreements.

In the absence of an Interstate Agreement, there are other mechanisms available to facilitate transfer, apprehension and return of involuntary patients.

Transfers: The Chief Psychiatrist works with Queensland Mental Health Services and interstate service providers to facilitate movement and transfers as required.

Apprehension and return of patients absent without approval: For information or support progressing the apprehension and return of a patient to or from another state, contact the Mental Health Act Liaison Service.

Examination and assessment: Emergency powers exist for each jurisdiction that authorise assessment and treatment for a person from another jurisdiction to ensure the person’s needs are being met.

For more information or support contact the Mental Health Act Liaison Service.


Mental Health Act Liaison Service
Phone: 3328 9899 or 1800 989 451

Last updated: 10 June 2019

Mental Health Act Liaison Service

Contact a Mental Health Act Liaison Officer for information about the Mental Health Act 2016.

Phone: (07) 3328 9899 or 1800 989 451