No healthcare for refugees in Australia

[I:]The Australian government is encountering calls grant Medicare features to several thousand community-based asylum seekers. A survey has revealed that a number of asylum seekers who are waiting on the federal government to make a decision whether they can stay in Australia find it difficult to obtain healthcare services because they’re not qualified for subsidised treatment under Medicare. Researchers from the University of NSW questioned a small number of community-based asylum seekers who explained troubles covering private general practitioners and medicine. Many had to wait weeks to see a GP and as a result undergone stress and anxiety, plus a damage in their health. One asylum seeker who had a history of coronary disease discontinued taking his blood pressure medicine as he could no more afford to pay for it.

The researchers said while federal government policies on offering medical care to community-based asylum seekers had improved, the federal government should expand Medicare eligibility to broaden the supply of health services. “Access to primary care will be enhanced by advancing Medicare eligibility to all asylum seekers,” the study team from the university’s Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity wrote in a study released by the Medical Journal of Australia. “This is unlikely to add significantly to the cost of the medical care program, and would bring Australia’s policy into line with that of comparable nations.”

More than 8000 asylum seekers filed protection visas in 2009/10. Nearly all arrived in Australia on legitimate visas and were living locally while their applications were processed. However, while many had a range of health issues, such as continual and infectious diseases as well as psychological problems, they were not allowed Medicare services.

Over 8000 asylum seekers lodged protection visas in 2009/10. The majority of arrived in Australia on valid visas and lived locally when their applications were processed. However, while many had a range of illness issues, including continual and transmittable medical conditions as well as psychological problems, they weren’t allowed Medicare services.

The Asylum Seeker Assistance Scheme managed by the Australian Red Cross provides some help to community-based asylum seekers needing to access health services. But the research workers said not all asylum seekers were eligible for get help under the program. When they interviewed the group of 12 asylum seekers from South Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, South East Asia, the Middle East and East Asia, who were now located in NSW, only four were eligible for Medicare. People that were ineligible were unwilling to go to a doctor simply because they couldn’t pay the bill. Individuals that used a GP through charitable groups commonly simply had to wait months to have an appointment, with one young pregnant woman made to wait half a year. Nurses and doctors interviewed by the experts also described that negotiating pro-bono care for asylum seekers was difficult and inefficient.

A prominent immigration lawyer in Sydney and refugee advocate Mr. Christopher Levingston said that the authorities should open up Medicare insurance access privileges for the asylum seekers. “Not accomplishing so would just complicate the situation”, he added.

Immigration Lawyer Sydney

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