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.