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Transport of patients

Transcript: Section 8: Transport of patients

AMHS Administrators: Roles and responsibilities

General transport

The Act provides for transport powers in two ways:

  • general powers to transport patients and other persons under the Act, and
  • specific requirements for transporting 'absent patients'.

An administrator, authorised doctor, or a person approved by the administrator or authorised doctor, may transport an involuntary patient or classified patient (voluntary) from one place in the service to another place in the service.

The Act also has a general authority for an authorised person to transport an involuntary patient or classified patient (voluntary) to or from an authorised mental health service, public sector health service facility, place of custody, court or a place in the community for the purposes of the Act.

Each of the following is an authorised person for the Act:

  • the administrator of an authorised mental health service
  • an ambulance officer
  • an authorised doctor
  • an authorised mental health practitioner
  • a police officer
  • a corrective services officer for the purpose of taking a person to or from a corrective services facility, and
  • a youth detention employee for the purpose of taking a person to or from a youth detention centre.

In addition, the administrator of an authorised mental health service may appoint a health service employee as an authorised person

Transport of absent patients

Under the Act, an 'absent person' includes:

  • a person who absconds while being lawfully detained under the Act
  • a person subject to an authority or order who does not attend at an authorised mental health service as required
  • where an authority or order is made for a person requiring the person to be detained and the person is not in a service at the time
  • where the category of a patient's treatment authority, forensic order or treatment support order is changed to inpatient
  • where a patient does not return from  a temporary absence or limited community treatment as required
  • where a person does not attend for an examination as required

For these persons, an administrator may:

  • authorise an authorised person, other than a police officer, to return the person; the authorised person may, in turn, request a police officer to assist in returning the person, or
  • request a police officer to return the person.

The authorisation or request must be in the approved form and state:

  • the risk the person presents to themselves, the authorised person, police officer and others, and
  • for a request to a police officer, state the reasons why the administrator considers it necessary for a police officer to transport the person.

Before taking this action, the administrator must make reasonable efforts to contact the person and encourage the person to come to the service or facility. However, this does not apply if it may risk the person harming themselves or others.

Return to community

Provisions of the Act apply if a person is transported involuntarily from a place in the community to an authorised mental health service under an:

  • examination authority or a recommendation for assessment, or
  • emergency examination authority, and a recommendation for assessment is made for the person.

At the end of the person's detention in the service, the administrator of the service must take reasonable steps to ensure the person is returned to a place reasonably requested by the person.

Last updated: 8 November 2016