Medical Crisis in Detention Centres
Detainees and asylum-seekers, including on Manus and Nauru, have been left without medical supervision, placing them at
critical risk of suicide, self-harm and from life-threatening physical health problems.
Two prominent justice and advocacy groups – including medical experts, lawyers and front-line workers – say the recent
resignation of Dr John Brayley, Chief Medical Officer for Immigration Detention, means there is now no system for
reviewing or monitoring detainees’ health needs, at a time of growing concern about negligence or harm.
Dr Brayley, who left his position two weeks ago, has not been replaced. The government neither announced nor explained
his departure, and a non-medical person is acting in his role.
The Asylum Seekers Advocacy Group and the National Justice Project are calling for an immediate transfer of all
detainees and asylum seekers needing medical or mental health care to mainland hospitals, as well as an urgent review of
medical and health services connected with detainees and offshore asylum seekers.
Even if Dr Brayley is replaced, the groups argue, the position of Chief Medical Officer for Immigration Detention is not
ethically acceptable. Professor Louise Newman, prominent psychiatrist and academic, says, ‘The position is not
compatible under medical professional ethical codes because it operates alongside human rights abuses, in which
Australia is complicit.
‘We call for all detainees needing medical or mental health care to be transferred to mainland hospitals, and for an
impartial, independent review of all medical and health services connected with immigration detention and offshore
asylum-seeker policy as well as the ethical constraints under which they operate.’