Joint press release by Asylum Seekers Advocacy Group (ASAG) and National Justice Project (NJP)
Detainees and asylum-seekers, including on Manus and Nauru, have been left without medical supervision, placing them at critical risk of suicide, self-harm and from life-threatening physical health problems.
Two prominent justice and advocacy groups – including medical experts, lawyers and front-line workers – say the recent resignation of Dr John Brayley, Chief Medical Officer for Immigration Detention, means there is now no system for reviewing or monitoring detainees’ health needs, at a time of growing concern about negligence or harm.
Dr Brayley, who left his position two weeks ago, has not been replaced. The government neither announced nor explained his departure, and a non-medical person is acting in his role.
The Asylum Seekers Advocacy Group and the National Justice Project are calling for an immediate transfer of all detainees and asylum seekers needing medical or mental health care to mainland hospitals, as well as an urgent review of medical and health services connected with detainees and offshore asylum seekers.
Even if Dr Brayley is replaced, the groups argue, the position of Chief Medical Officer for Immigration Detention is not ethically acceptable. Professor Louise Newman, prominent psychiatrist and academic, says, ‘The position is not compatible under medical professional ethical codes because it operates alongside human rights abuses, in which Australia is complicit.
‘We call for all detainees needing medical or mental health care to be transferred to mainland hospitals, and for an impartial, independent review of all medical and health services connected with immigration detention and offshore asylum-seeker policy as well as the ethical constraints under which they operate.’
Jane Salmon for Professor Louise Newman, Dr Michael Dudley, George Newhouse