In an accompanying editorial to the paper, Dr Christine Phillips from the ANU Medical School and the Companion House Medical Service said that achieving good health care for refugees in Australia presented a number of challenges.
The reported experiences of asylum seekers revealed that their access to primary health care was limited by a range of barriers, including Medicare ineligibility, health care costs and the effects of social, financial and psychological stress.
“There are difficulties, both for the refugees who seek care and for the health care practitioners who seek to provide effective services,” Dr Phillips said.
“These problems reflect, in part, inadequate networks of communication between health care providers, and between policymakers and health care providers.
“Problems can include health care providers being unaware of how to manage unfamiliar disease profiles and unaware of specific provisions for refugees’ needs.
“Further, emerging issues in refugee health care are rarely met with timely public policy solutions.
“The recently formed Refugee Health Network of Australia (RHeaNA) is helping to overcome these barriers. RHeaNA is a national collaboration of over 140 refugee health service providers.”
The study was conducted by researchers from the University of New South Wales.
For a copy of the paper and the accompanying editorial by Dr Phillips and colleagues, visit http://www.mja.com.au/