The Asylum Seeker Integrated Healthcare Pathway: A collaborative approach to improving access to primary health care in South Eastern Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

I. Hao Cheng, Jacquie McBride, Miriam Decker, Therese Watson, Hannah Jakubenko, Alana Russo

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It is important to address the health needs of asylum seekers within the early stages of their arrival in Australia, as this impacts all aspects of their resettlement. However, asylum seekers face a range of barriers to accessing timely and appropriate health care in the community. In 2012, the increasing number of asylum seekers in Australia placed additional demand on health and social services in high-settlement regions. Health providers experienced a substantial increase in Medicare ineligible clients and avoidable presentations to Emergency Departments, and the health needs of new asylum seeker arrivals were not being fully addressed. In response, South Eastern Melbourne Medicare Local, Monash Health, the Australian Red Cross and local settlement support agencies collaborated to develop an integrated healthcare pathway in South Eastern Melbourne to facilitate healthcare access for asylum seekers released from detention. From September 2012 to December 2014, a total of 951 asylum seekers transitioned through the pathway. Seventy-eight percent required primary healthcare assistance, and were provided with a service appointment within 3 weeks of their arrival in Melbourne. This initiative has demonstrated the value of partnership and collaboration when responding to emergent asylum seeker health needs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-12
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian Journal of Primary Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2019

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