The RACP responds to new data released by medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres concerning offshore detention

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) has today responded to new data released by medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders).

 Professor David Isaacs, a paediatrician and RACP Fellow who treated children in the Nauru detention centre in 2015, said:

 “We call on the Government to urgently address the medical crisis in Australia’s offshore detention centres by transferring the remaining children from Nauru and allowing urgent medical transfers for adult refugees and asylum seekers on the basis of independent medical advice.

 “The medical evidence is clear, offshore detention has had significant and detrimental impact on the health and wellbeing of refugees, particularly children and their families.

 “The data released today by Doctors Without Borders is just the latest confirmation that there is a medical crisis in offshore detention. I witnessed it myself when I treated children on Nauru four years ago. But it is a crisis that is entirely preventable. The government can act to end it.

 “In the last five years, 12 people have died within offshore detention arrangements. We cannot wait until another person dies. We have a responsibility to act.

 “In Australia, clinical need, not politics, determines access to assessment and care. This should apply equally on Manus Island and Nauru.

 “If a person needs urgent medical support, access to care must be determined by a doctor – not a politician.

 “Regardless of your opinion on offshore processing, nobody wants to see critically ill people denied the medical treatment they need,” said Professor Isaacs.

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