Advertising


News

Doctors join campaign to save Medevac


Paul Hayes


26/11/2019 4:02:59 PM

The RACGP has called on the Senate to save the Medevac legislation.

In detention on Nauru
The Medevac laws give doctors the power to recommend that an asylum seeker or refugee on Manus Island or Nauru should be transferred to Australia for medical treatment. (Image: AAP)

With the Federal Government’s attempt to repeal the legislation set to be debated in the Senate, the RACGP has joined the many voices calling for Medevac to be saved.
 
‘Asylum seekers and refugees must be able to receive a proper level of healthcare as determined by qualified medical professionals,’ Dr Kate Walker, GP and Chair of the RACGP Specific Interests Refugee Health network, said.
 
‘What this legislation does is give doctors, not administrators, greater power in determining whether people on Manus Island or Nauru require transfer to Australia for medical treatment. At least 150 patients have been transferred for urgent medical care using the Medevac legislation.
 
‘That is how it should be – doctors making a judgment on what type of care is needed.’
 
The Medevac laws give doctors the power to recommend that an asylum seeker or refugee on Manus Island or Nauru should be transferred to Australia for medical treatment.
 
The RACGP’s call comes after asylum seeker advocates delivered a petition to Parliament House in an attempt to save the medical evacuation laws.
 
The petition, which has more than 51,000 signatures, was presented to a cross-party group made up of Labor, the Greens and independent MP Andrew Wilkie.
 
The laws were passed against the Government’s wishes in February. More than 200 asylum seekers have come to Australia under Medevac in that time, and the Government has argued the scheme weakens Australia’s borders as it limits ministerial discretion to rule on each case.
 
‘Under the Medevac legislation, the Minister for Home Affairs still has final authority to review all individual applications and make the ultimate decision on whether someone should be transferred to receive medical care,’ Dr Walker said.
 
‘But, at the end of the day, it’s vital that professional and independent medical opinion is heeded.
 
‘If this legislation is repealed there is a high risk of refugee deaths. As a GP, I can’t stand by and let that happen. Every life is important.’

Log in below to join the conversation.



asylum seekers Medevac refugees


newsGP weekly poll Should GPs have restrictions on being able to prescribe ivermectin for COVID-19?
 
13%
 
54%
 
30%
 
2%
Related




newsGP weekly poll Should GPs have restrictions on being able to prescribe ivermectin for COVID-19?

Advertising

Advertising


Login to comment

Dr Ali   27/11/2019 8:57:44 AM

I'm a country GP. Please advise anything I can do/contribute to try save Medevec legislation. Thanks


Dr Alan Robert McLean   28/11/2019 9:21:33 AM

We have a responsibility to look after the health of asylum seekers even if we have incarcerated them off-shore. They need the facility of MEDEVAC in the same way as Australian remote towns need the RFDS. The death of an asylum seeker from a leg infection some years ago is morally indefensible. That death could have been prevented.