Chair of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Refugee Health Network Dr Kate Walker has spoken out on today’s repeal of the medevac legislation.
“Today’s vote in the Senate is extremely disappointing,” Dr Walker said.
“Last week I expressed concern that the repeal of the legislation would compromise patient care and increase the risk of further deaths. I stand by that statement.”
Dr Walker warned that the result was a backwards step for patient care.
“12 refugees and asylum seekers died in offshore processing in the five years prior to medevac. No one has died since medevac was put in place.
“The presidents of 12 prominent medical colleges have been united in support of medevac and there is good reason for that – the law made perfect sense and allowed doctors to make judgements on what type of care is actually needed.
“Without medevac, the Government must take urgent action to ensure patient safety.
“They must be transparent in their processes and accept medical advice. Australia has a duty of care for those most vulnerable who remain offshore.
“Border protection is important but so is our duty of care to the health and safety of those in offshore detention.”