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After-Hours Emergency Procedures

The Office of the Public Guardian operates an emergency after-hours service. This service is limited to urgent matters only, which cannot await action on the next business day. Urgent matters may arise regarding an existing represented person, or a potential new emergency guardianship order.

In relation to an existing represented person “urgent” means that a substitute decision is required by the guardian immediately.  If a decision can wait until the next business day, your contact with the Office of the Public Guardian should be deferred until then.   Notification of an injury or even the death of a represented person does not warrant after hours action, unless there is an associated decision required by a guardian urgently.

In rare circumstances a new emergency order may be required out of hours.  In such cases, you should make contact with the Office of the Public Guardian via our after-hours telephone service, on 6165 6767.  Your call will be directed to the on-call guardian who will consider your request and explore with you whether there are any alternatives to an emergency order.

The following circumstances may not require an emergency guardianship order:

  • Urgent medical treatment – may be provided without consent under s40 of the Guardianship and Administration Act 1995
  • Medical treatment to which the patient is not objecting and where there is no person responsible – may be provided without consent under s41 of the Act
  • Keeping a person in hospital or another facility for their safety, contrary to the person’s wishes – the facility may be able to rely on their duty of care to avert a crisis or harm coming to the person
  • Removing a person who is posing a threat to the health, safety or well-being of a person with a disability – may be undertaken on the authority of the facility relying on their duty of care to avert a crisis or harm coming to the person
  • Police action to initiate a welfare check, locate a missing person or take other protective action

If, after considering all the circumstances, it appears that an emergency order is warranted, the matter will need to be referred to a member of the Guardian and Administration Board for determination. You will need to:

What happens next?

  • the on-call guardian will make contact with a Board member who will determine the matter
  • the guardian will contact you to advise of the Board’s decision
  • if an order is made, the guardian will provide provide you with a copy
  • the guardian will then consider the circumstances and make urgent decision/s

Emergency administration orders will not need to be made out-of-hours: The Public Trustee is unable to take any urgent action outside normal business hours as financial institutions are not available.