A Queensland based paramedic has a question regarding Emergency Examination Authorities (EEAs). They say:

…when completing an EEA we must provide the time of which we hand the patient over to the care facility. I was wondering what power we have during transport of the patient as we are not under the time of the EEA during transport?

EEAs are provided for in the Public Health Act 2005 (Qld).  An emergency examination authority is issued by an ambulance officer (s 157D).  The issue of the authority authorises others to detain the person the subject of the authority (s 157E).  It follows, as my correspondent says, that a person detained by an ambulance officer is not subject to an EEA; the powers of an ambulance officer are found in s 157B which says:

(1)       This section applies if an ambulance officer or police officer believes—

(a)        a person’s behaviour, including, for example, the way in which the person is communicating, indicates the person is at immediate risk of serious harm; and


a person is threatening to commit suicide

(b)       the risk appears to be the result of a major disturbance in the person’s mental capacity, whether caused by illness, disability, injury, intoxication or another reason; and

©        the person appears to require urgent examination, or treatment and care, for the disturbance.

(2) …

(3)       The ambulance officer or police officer may detain the person and transport the person to a treatment or care place…

The ambulance officer must (s 157C) tell the patient that they are ‘detaining the person and transporting the person to a treatment or care place’ and must tell them:

(a)        in an appropriate way having regard to the person’s age, culture, mental impairment or illness, communication ability and any disability; and

(b)       in a way, including, for example, in a language, the person is most likely to understand.

The ambulance officer may use ‘the force, that is necessary and reasonable in the circumstances’ (s 157L). 

The Act does not specifically say what if any treatment may be given but the use of necessary and reasonable force would imply the use of both chemical and physical restraints where they are provided for in the ambulance service clinical practice guidelines and are based on appropriate health science. 


Ambulance officers may detain and transport, using reasonable force, a patient who meets the criteria set out in s 157B. The authority of an ambulance officer is not found in the EEA as ambulance officers issue an EEA to authorise future detention by others.

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This blog is made possible with generous financial support from the Australasian College of Paramedicine, the Australian Paramedics Association (NSW), Natural Hazards Research Australia, NSW Rural Fire Service Association and the NSW SES Volunteers Association. I am responsible for the content in this post including any errors or omissions. Any opinions expressed are mine, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or understanding of the donors.