Attributable to Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM) Queensland Faculty Chair Dr Kim Hansen

ACEM notes the discussion in the media about Queensland’s "rapid offload" policy.

Rises in emergency department presentations are happening everywhere across Australia, including Queensland. It’s predictable and can be managed.

Our members and trainees are on the frontline, providing the expert care they have dedicated their lives to, but often are let down by the system.

That is, we know the demand for emergency medicine health care is increasing and evolving every day, yet measures supposedly to combat this are implemented without consultation.

For example, the rapid transfer process brought in is leaving vulnerable community members at risk. This is nothing more than leaving patients in unsuitable areas in the emergency department for their condition. The handover process does not factor in the clinical reality of emergency departments and is a threat to the welfare of patients.

More broadly, ACEM’s official position on ambulance ramping states that where it does occur, it is an indicator of systemic health care dysfunction that reduces patient safety and increases the risk of adverse health outcomes.

Download ACEM’s Statement on Ambulance Ramping

We are not singling out the ambulance service, paramedics or nurses, all who face the same reality and do a wonderful job. This is not an ‘us versus them’ issue. Health professionals are all on the same side, working to the best of their abilities in a health system that is unresponsive.

Patients deserve the services that can provide the care they need and ultimately, it is the responsibility of hospital executive and government to ensure emergency departments and hospitals are able to provide that care.

Leadership at the top of hospitals that must realise frontline emergency department staff must be empowered to lead quality care improvement initiatives across the health system.

ACEM is keen to work with the government, hospital leadership, QAS and health department executives to develop the actions to improve patient outcomes.


ACEM is the peak body for emergency medicine in Australia and New Zealand, responsible for training emergency physicians and advancement of professional standards.

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