The ASRC health clinic

Health Services

The ASRC Health Centre has been offering health services to people seeking asylum in Victoria since 2002 and is the largest facility of its kind in Australia. It provides a range of primary health services for people seeking asylum living in the community and prioritises people seeking asylum without access to Medicare. It plays an important role in upholding health as a human right.

The Health Clinic often treats people seeking asylum who have complex or chronic health conditions. In addition to providing clinical services, the program facilitate activities to promote healthy lifestyles and prevent illness. Activities to improve diet, exercise, sleep and relationships have been developed with existing ASRC programs to support members’ physical and mental wellbeing. In 2015-16 three community health nurses and 87 volunteers assisted 629 patients and offered 3662 health appointments.

The program also participates in broader advocacy. As a member of the Victorian Refugee Health Network, the program advocates for better access to services and specialist care for people seeking asylum, while ensuring the healthcare needs of this community remain visible. For example, a partnership with St Vincents hospital in Melbourne continues to provide radiology and pathology services to the ASRC GP clinic. Another partnership with Daffey’s pharmacy in Footscray enabled 350 members to access cost effective medication who would otherwise not be able to due to the ineligibility of people seeking asylum to access a Health Care Card.

ASRC Health Clinic services

  • general practice clinic
  • nurse clinic
  • immunisation clinic
  • psychiatry clinic
  • physiotherapy
  • massage
  • acupuncture
  • podiatry
  • diabetes screening and education
  • pain specialist clinic
  • pharmacy program
  • first-aid training

The Clinic also refers people seeking asylum to external health services including maternal and child health, dental, pathology, radiology and optometry services.

Immunisation clinic

In May 2015, the program launched Australia’s first Immunisation clinic for people seeking asylum. Its long term vision is to immunise the ASRC’s 3,000+ members through its weekly openings that focus on catch-up immunisations for a number of diseases including, polio, hepatitis, mumps and rubella. In 2015-16, the clinic delivered 1200 vaccines to 173 members, including 65 members who received full catch-up immunisations.

The program is vital for ASRC members, many of whom have never been previously immunised. Part of the program includes a health consultation to assess the person’s full medical history, and from there a personalised vaccination schedule is administered.

You can read about the launch of the catch-up immunsiation clinic here.

Diabetes screening and education

In 2015, ASRC launched the Diabetes Risk Screening project in partnership with Baker IDI, with the goal to decrease the prevalence of diabetes-related health issues for people seeking asylum. The project educates people around health and well being in order to prevent diabetes as well as a screening and referral pathway for people at the risk of or living with diabetes. The partnership with Baker IDI has enabled ASRC health patients to access Credentialed Diabetes Educators in order to better manage diabetes. The results have been empowering for members living with this condition.

First-aid training courses

Since April 2016, the Health program has conducted monthly first-aid training and refresher-training to all ASRC staff, volunteers, member-volunteers and members. This has helped to ensure that the safety and wellbeing of our members and our workplace, is at the forefront of all we do.

Eligibility of health services for people seeking asylum

The Victorian Government Department of Health and Human Services has recognised the right to health for all people by issuing a directive that people seeking asylum who are ineligible for Medicare should be provided with full medical care including, pathology, diagnostic, pharmaceutical and other services in Victorian public hospitals. People seeking asylum are also eligible for emergency ambulance transport, assistance with home carecatch-up immunisation and priority access to community health centres and dental services.

If you have any enquires about ASRC health services please contact the ASRC Health Centre on (03) 9274 9898 or at health@asrc.org.au

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