The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is calling on the Federal Government to address the plight of the Biloela family.
RACGP President Dr Karen Price has said that the mental health and wellbeing of the family must come first.
“Ask any GP and they will tell you that the detention of children and prolonged detention of adults has been shown to cause a range of adverse long-term physical, psychological and developmental effects,” she said.
“The welfare of these family members must be front of mind. At the RACGP, we believe that detention of vulnerable groups such as children, pregnant women and survivors of torture and trauma should be avoided, and for others it should be strictly for the minimum time possible.”
Dr Price also stressed that access to healthcare was essential for all patients.
“The RACGP believes that it is the right of everyone to have accessible and appropriate healthcare,” she said.
“The healthcare of asylum seekers in detention, whether offshore, on-shore or community detention, should be of a standard that is the same of any person living in Australia.
“This includes timely access to health services, and universal access to Medicare funded primary care services when appropriate.
“Asylum seekers have increased vulnerability because of the uncertainty and length of the visa determination process, which contributes significantly to poor mental health outcomes. So timely permanent settlement solutions for families is essential.
“GPs have a role in advocating to address the barriers to equitable healthcare that exist for refugees and asylum seekers, it’s as simple as that.”