The Royal Australasian College of Physicians position statement on refugee and asylum seeker health

Georgia A Paxton, Sarah Cherian and Karen J Zwi
Med J Aust 2015; 203 (4): 176-177. || doi: 10.5694/mja15.00593

Refugee and asylum seeker health is important in the setting of increasing global forced migration, and the particular physical and mental health issues faced by these groups. The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) has identified refugee and asylum seeker health as a policy priority, recognising large refugee-background populations in Australia and New Zealand, increased asylum seeker boat arrivals to Australia during 2009–2013, the duration and impact of Australian immigration detention, and complex and changing Australian asylum policy. Key demographics of refugees and asylum seekers are shown in Box 1.

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  • Georgia A Paxton1
  • Sarah Cherian2
  • Karen J Zwi4

  • 1 Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, VIC
  • 2 Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, Perth, WA
  • 3 University of Western Australia, Perth, WA
  • 4 University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW
  • 5 Hospitals Network, Sydney, NSW



We acknowledge the other members of the RACP Working Party for Refugee and Asylum Seeker Health: Joshua Francis, Mitchell Smith, Lesley Voss, Vanessa Johnston, Andrew Block, Kate Napthali and Emily Ofner. Karen Zwi is Chair of the Working Party.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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access_time 07:32, 20 August 2015
Steven Faux

This policy is comprehensive and worded with clear intent. The Faculty of Pain Medicine at the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaethetists have championed the UN resolution indicating that access to pain,adage net is a basic human right. Detainees and asylum seekers being held in detention centres have very limited access to simple analgesia and will often have to endure painful conditions such as migraine, dental pain, disc disease and neuropathic pain States without access to simple analgesia or medical/specialist consultation for upto 6-8 weeks. It behoves the Faculty of Pain Medicine to support such a document and to indicate that another human right is being denied to this discriminated group of people.

Competing Interests: No relevant disclosures

Assoc Prof Steven Faux
St Vincent's Hospital UNSW

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