This follows media reports of the recent medical transfer of the family’s three-year-old daughter to Perth to be treated for sepsis.
ACEM President Dr John Bonning said the College holds concerns the ongoing detention of the family of four, including their two young daughters, poses serious ongoing health risks.
“Emergency physicians are very concerned about the harm being caused to this family, particularly the young children, as a result of their protracted detention, and the accompanying sense of helplessness and uncertainty that can bring.
“We know that detention is harmful to the physical and mental health of people in the short and long term, and this is particularly so for children and young people.
“We also know that refugees and asylum seekers face significant barriers to accessing healthcare in Australia. These issues can be exacerbated in offshore detention, where environmental and infrastructure challenges, as well as issues such as limited access to specialist health services, can be more pronounced.
“Everybody has a right to timely and appropriate medical care, and the College also highlights the risk of acute impacts in delaying treatment of serious medical conditions, like sepsis.
“In calling for the release of the Biloela family, the College urges the Australian government to adopt a more humane approach to its treatment of all people in immigration detention, in line with medical advice, and in acknowledgment of the serious health risks such environments pose.”
ACEM is the peak body for emergency medicine in Australia and New Zealand, responsible for training emergency physicians and advancement of professional standards. www.acem.org.au