To the Editor: Recent media reports of unsafe maternal and child health practices at the Christmas Island immigration detention centre suggest an alarming contrast between the care available to asylum seekers and that available to Australian nationals.1,2 The reports also appear at odds with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s factsheet that states: “All detainees in immigration detention have access to health care at a standard generally comparable to the health care available to the Australian community”3 — though the use of “generally” allows for unqualified departure from the standard.
- 1. Marr D, Laughland O. Woman who miscarried on Christmas Island told to lower her expectations. The Guardian 2013; 23 Dec. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/23/woman-who-miscarried-on-christmas-island-told-lower-expectations (accessed Dec 2013).
- 2. Marr D. Doctors reveal ‘harmful’ standards of medical care for asylum seekers. The Guardian 2013; 20 Dec. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/19/revealed-doctors-outrage-over-unsafe-refugee-patients (accessed Dec 2013).
- 3. Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection. Factsheet 82 – Immigration detention. https://www.immi.gov. au/media/fact-sheets/82detention.htm (accessed Feb 2014).
- 4. Australian Institute for Health and Welfare. Deaths. http://aihw.gov.au/deaths (accessed Feb 2014).
- 5. Smith AC, Gray LC. Telemedicine across the ages. Med J Aust 2009; 190: 15-19. <MJA full text>
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