CONTACT US     member login member login  

Commissioner Craig Emery - Currently vacationing during the escalating Qld pandemic crisis

Open Letter to Commissioner Craig Emery

11 January 2022

Mr Craig Emery

Acting Commissioner

Queensland Ambulance Service


By email: and

Dear Mr Emery,

As you are aware, after a formal selection process, you were appointed to the Queensland Ambulance Service Commissioner role for a period of six months from 7 August 2021. The Director-General’s email to staff referenced I trust that you will all support Craig in this critical role as we continue to navigate the challenges of COVID and significant demand growth.”

We hope that you are feeling rested, relaxed and recharged since you have been on annual leave from 13 December 2021. We understand the importance of having the ability to take annual leave when you need it.

We presume that you have been uncontactable and that you don’t know that the health service crisis in Queensland has escalated and the Ambulance Service you purport to lead is on its knees. That is the only way we can rationalise that you have not cancelled the remaining weeks of your leave and returned to work to lead an Ambulance Service, a health organisation, through the worst of the pandemic response in Queensland.

To update you (while you have been on vacation), amongst other challenges, paramedics across Queensland have:

  • been worked to the bone in full PPE in the middle of summer with excessive shift extensions that are extremely fatiguing (more staff and resources are required so that shift lengths are not extended beyond 12 hours given the current working conditions);
  • been working as single officers and have been left on scene for hours without access to a stretcher ambulance to transport the patient;
  • been directed to transport unwell covid positive patients to hospital in the front seat of a sedan ambulance vehicle;
  • been informed by managers that there are PPE shortages at station level (this places paramedics at risk and causes anxiety for them about their safety at work. It is unbelievable that QAS has not planned for this despite the 18 months to do so);
  • been asked to cancel their scheduled leave (are you leading by example?);
  • been asked to change their rosters with no notice (creating significant disruption to families at an already challenging and stressful time. Again, more staff are clearly required);
  • had their Critical Care Paramedic training suspended and their pay rate reduced;
  • been completely left in the dark due to the constant changes in the hospital system and a complete lack of communication to paramedics updating them on the changes;
  • been denied the daily workload data that was provided to paramedics up until 21 December 2021; and
  • become increasingly concerned about the ability of QAS to attend to patients when they need us most (reports from paramedics is that the delays and workload is out of control including that Code 1 patients have waited for an ambulance for over 6 hours and Code 2 patients have waited over 18 hours).

The practical impact of your holiday is that three other Queensland Ambulance Service managers are acting up in positions that they are not experienced in so that your role is backfilled. At a time like this, the most experienced and competent managers need to be in their substantive roles fulfilling the role they know how to do. It’s not rocket science. We cannot understand how the Queensland Ambulance Service Assistant Commissioner of the Gold Coast region (where almost half of the state’s covid hospitalisations are) has been removed to backfill a Deputy Commissioner position and an inexperienced Acting Assistant Commissioner assigned to the Gold Coast region.

Aside from the practicalities, we want you to know that there is collective panic amongst paramedics about the current state of the Queensland Ambulance Service and what is to come. This is a time that demonstrating highly visible and caring leadership becomes even more important. You can’t do that while you are on holidays. You can’t do that with your office door shut at Kedron.  

We plead with you to show up, show your face, rally the troops (who will be asked to sacrifice so much during this pandemic response) and navigate the Queensland Ambulance Service through this crisis. We shouldn’t have to plead with you to do your job.

We hope to see you on the ramps soon.

Australian Paramedics Association Queensland

Share this

Related Articles