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Independent Medical Delegation Suspended

PROFESSIONAL ALLIANCE FOR THE
HEALTH OF ASYLUM SEEKERS AND THEIR CHILDREN

MEDIA RELEASE

Independent Medical Delegation Suspended

15TH January 2004

An independent delegation of medical specialists preparing to travel to Nauru to support local health services has today been suspended following withdrawal of the invitation by the Director of Medical Services on Nauru, Dr Kieren Keke.

This follows the offer of increased support to the Nauru medical system by the Commonwealth Government.

Dr Louise Newman of the Alliance said that whilst support for Nauru’s struggling health system is welcomed “the details of the Commonwealth offer are not available and there are still no guarantees that the health services will meet basic standards of care.”

The Alliance has called for a system of independent monitoring of health and mental health services in both on and off-shore detention facilities and the establishment of an expert health committee to oversee health services in these facilities under the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer.

“The Commonwealth Government has not consulted the AMA or the medical colleges as to appropriate experts in the area of asylum seeker health. We are happy to work with the government and to provide expert advice” said Dr Louise Newman.

“There is currently no transparent independent overview of detention health and ongoing reports of poor care and unacceptable rates of mental health problems amongst detainees.” Said Dr Rohan Vora of the Alliance.

The Alliance has urged all medical practitioners and health workers to consider the ethical implications of being employed by private providers of detention and to maintain high clinical practice standards. “Doctors and clinicians need to follow ethical guidelines and only work within ethical systems” said Dr Newman.

The Alliance will present a model for independent health monitoring of immigration detention centres to the Minister for discussion.

CONTACT Dr Louise Newman
0418 453 447

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