NSW Health updates directive to make sure that asylum seekers without access to Medicare have access to a broad range of health services. These include maternity services and ambulatory care for those with chronic and acute health conditions.
An updated Policy Directive from NSW Health in October this year makes sure that asylum seekers who are Medicare ineligible have access to health services. Asylum seekers are people within Australia who apply to the Australian Government for formal recognition as a refugee. This process may take many years. Some applicants are provided with assistance by the Australian Government which includes a Medicare card and job rights. However some asylum seekers are not Medicare eligible. This policy applies to asylum seekers at any stage of the application/appeal process, including removal pathways.
This Policy Directive requires NSW Health public hospitals, mental health services, NSW Ambulance and NSW Health Pathology to waive fees for public health services that are provided to community-based asylum seekers who are not eligible for Medicare. These services include:
- Emergency care for acute medical and surgical conditions, including the admission of elective surgery for certain conditions
- Ambulatory and outpatient care required to maintain the health status of asylum seekers with acute and chronic health conditions
- Maternity services, including antenatal and postnatal care
- Mental Health services (inpatient and community based)
- Ambulance transport for emergencies.