Medevac process explained

“All people have a fundamental right to healthcare and we have an obligation to these people to meet their healthcare needs. That’s what Medevac is making possible.” Detention Triage Manager, Michael Hoey.


What is the Medevac bill?

The Medevac Bill was passed in February this year, giving medical doctors (not politicians) the power to decide whether sick refugees in offshore detention require transfer to Australia for medical treatment.

Medevac provides for the temporary transfer of patients in offshore detention to Australia for the purpose of medical or psychiatric treatment or further assessment.


What does the Medevac bill mean for critically ill refugees in offshore detention?

The Medevac process is important because it makes what has often been a long fight of years in the courts for medical care, a safe, efficient and orderly process that gets sick people the care they need, when they need it.

Before the passing of the Medevac bill sick refugees and asylum seekers in offshore detention were waiting for 2 years (on average) for medical transfer to Australia for treatment, even after a medical transfer recommendation had been made by the Government’s own appointed doctors.

The Medevac process is a rigorous, transparent and independent process which omits political interference in a critically ill person’s access to healthcare.
It provides clear timeframes for decisions at each step of the Medevac process.

To date, more than 130 critically ill refugees who were denied access to lifesaving medical care in offshore detention have been evacuated to Australia for life-saving medical treatment under Medevac.

In short, the Medevac process is working.
It‘s saving lives.


How does the ASRC help facilitate the medical transfer of sick refugees for treatment?

As part of the Medical Evacuation Response Group (MERG), the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre plays a key role in facilitating the Medevac process, ensuring sick refugees get access to the healthcare they urgently need.

Working as part of MERG, in partnership with refugees, sector partners, doctors, lawyers and community advocates, our Detention Advocacy Team of 7 staff help manage the medical evacuation process, providing comprehensive case management support to sick refugees, including:

triaging the formal request for medical assessment of sick refugees
suicide intervention and critical care support
collating and managing medical and legal records to support and strengthen their request for medical transfer
linking them to doctors and lawyers to help them obtain medical treatment

The ASRC is well placed to provide the intensive casework support needed for medical transfers because we have the years of expertise, relationships, and systems required.


Medevac explained: how does the process for medical transfer work?

It all starts
with a phone call…

The ASRC’s triage team are the first point of contact when someone is applying for an urgent medical transfer. From responding to initial enquiries to managing client medical files. They work on obtaining enough information to refer them onto onto the MERG triage doctors.

Specialised MERG triage doctors manage and assesses the medical needs of the applicant in consultation with our social workers and other medical specialists.
They work directly with on-island services to ensure mental and physical health concerns are managed and the individual being assessed is supported through the Medevac application process.

Our caseworkers are at the forefront of the entire Medevac process, collecting important case notes, they are also here to provide those who are sick with a point of connection here in Australia and voice of compassion and care on the phone while being an expert advocate to ensure their medical transfer is approved.

Comprehensive documentation will be collected from our caseworkers and given to MERG doctors and lawyers. They will then provide the necessary information to the Department and the Minister.

The Minister of Home Affairs will review individual applications and will make the final decision on whether someone is sick enough to be transferred to receive medical care in Australia.

The Minister has approved medical application and they will be transferred to Australia for urgent treatment and assessment.The Minister refuses the application and decides the case is not medically necessary. An Independent Health Assessment panel, which is made up of nine doctors, will re-review the application.

Our caseworkers will continue to work with those who have been refused urgent medical transfers.

This is a fight we’re not going to give up on, but we need your help to make medical evacuations a possibility for those left behind.


How can you help sick refugees receive medical transfer to Australia under Medevac?

Prolonged time in offshore detention is continuing to take a significant toll on the physical and mental well-being of already sick refugees and people seeking asylum that are being held in Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

Hundreds are still languishing in brutal detention facilities where 12 people have died already and where medical care is grossly inadequate.

Your generous donation to the ASRC’s Medevac EMERGENCY APPEAL ensures our dedicated team can continue to help manage the complex Medevac application process for those left behind.

Access to medical care is a basic human right and we can’t turn our backs on those who need care the most.

Donate NOW because lives are at risk and Medevac can save them.