Reducing patient transfers from police watch houses

In 2015, EMF and the Gold Coast Hospital Foundation funded the first Australian research assessing 24-hour emergency nursing care to police watch houses.

With watch houses increasingly transferring ill prisoners to emergency departments for assessment and treatment, and an increase in acute and chronic health conditions seen in detainees, Dr David Green and Associate Professor Julia Crilly are assessing the outcomes of an innovative model of care that involved emergency nurses supplementing existing domiciliary nurses so that there was 24/7 nursing coverage in the watch house for a 66 day trial period.

The aim of the new model is to enable the detection and management of acute and chronic health issues onsite in the watch house to help avoid the need for transfer to the emergency department.

The model is likely to inform policy decisions on health care delivery for emergency departments and improve health assessment and referral practices in police watch houses.

Key researchers: Dr David Green and Associate Professor Julia Crilly


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