Hospital utilisation among people born in refugee-source countries

Joy L Mendel and Claire E Brolan
Med J Aust 2007; 187 (8): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2007.tb01379.x
Published online: 15 October 2007

To the Editor: We refer to the study reported by Correa-Velez and colleagues, which found lower hospital utilisation rates among patients from refugee-source countries compared with the Australian-born population in Victoria.1 As noted by the authors, there is a dearth of evidence on the use of health services by refugees. Their 6-year investigation stands as a singular study of its kind in Australia, and we recognise its potential to inform policy on refugee health care. However, we argue that the authors’ conclusion that “the Refugee and Humanitarian Program does not currently place a burden on the Australian hospital system” cannot be drawn from the data collected in the study.

  • Mater Health Services, Brisbane, QLD.


  • 1. Correa-Velez I, Sundararajan V, Brown K, Gifford SM. Hospital utilisation among people born in refugee-source countries: an analysis of hospital admissions, Victoria, 1998–2004. Med J Aust 2007; 186: 577-580. <MJA full text>
  • 2. Sinnerbrink I, Silove DM, Manicavasagar VL, et al. Asylum seekers: general health status and problems with access to health care. Med J Aust 1996; 165: 634-637.
  • 3. Davidson N, Skull S, Burgner D, et al. An issue of access: delivering equitable health care for newly arrived refugee children in Australia. J Paediatr Child Health 2004; 40: 569-575.
  • 4. Hawes E. Response to: Stefan Armbruster of the SBS. Re: Refugee Health Service [media response]. 6 June 2007. Brisbane: Queensland Health, 2007.


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