Peter Dutton MP has rejected the Australian Medical Association’s (AMA) request to independently assess and have oversight of health care and treatment of men detained on Manus Island.
The ASRC has long highlighted that people detained on Manus and Nauru are not receiving urgent medical treatment for complex physical and mental conditions, including torture and trauma counselling which is not currently available to men on Manus.
The ASRC has been trying to plug the mental health gaps by connecting the men to Australian health care professionals on the phone, including psychiatrists and counsellors. This is not enough to prevent worsening of medical conditions and suffering.
Yet Minister Dutton has stated that the men on Manus are receiving medical care that is commensurate with what Australians receive.
In Australia we have oversight, monitoring and transparent regulation of our healthcare system, as well as a free media to scrutinise and report issues. This doesn’t exist in the three facilities the men are now being held in.
Rejecting the AMA’s request for independent assessment and oversight means that the Minister gets to maintain secrecy and escape scrutiny for the extent of the health crisis on Manus.
CEO Kon Karapanagiotidis said, “An AMA led delegation of doctors firstly want to provide necessary care for the men, and secondly are best placed to provide genuine independent assessment and oversight of the health conditions experienced by the men on Manus.
“In the absence of independent and objective assessment, we cannot even say if people with the most complex health needs are receiving even the most basic standard of medical care.”
“I have witnessed firsthand the medical crisis on Manus, met men with histories of heart attacks, liver dysfunction, epilepsy, skin, ear and back infections, kidney stones, PTSD and depression, to name a few conditions.
“These health issues have only been compounded by last week’s violent forced removal to unfinished and inadequate ‘new’ facilities”.
“My team have been on the phones the last week doing our best to link suicidal and traumatised men to counsellors in Australia by phone, and to triage medical issues through referrals, all significantly inadequate for what the men need: face to face medical and mental health care on scale.”
“We applaud the AMA for providing a vital spotlight on what’s happening on Manus Island and we encourage them to continue to persist with their requests for immediate access.”
“One can only conclude that Minister Dutton doesn’t want independent oversight of the standards of care of refugees that remain under our protection obligations, and wants to escape accountability for their care. It raises the question, what is he trying to hide?” Kon said.
The ASRC renews our call to the Minister to urgently allow an AMA led delegation into Manus Island facilities to have oversight and independently assess men’s health conditions.Leave a reply →