The Australian College of Nursing (ACN) condemns the inadequate access to appropriate health care for refugees and asylum seekers as revealed by the ABC’s 7.30 on 27 August 2018.

ABC’s 7.30 program reported that children are self-harming with high levels of resulting trauma, women are requesting the termination of their pregnancy but do not have the right to choose this option, and the basic human right to receive appropriate health care services are not being met.

“The Australian College of Nursing calls on the new Minister for Immigration, the Hon David Coleman MP, to urgently review access to health care for refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru. The health professionals who spoke out about the deplorable conditions on Nauru are exercising their clinical judgement and their moral concerns regarding a very distressing issue,” explained Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN, CEO of ACN.

“The stories about children self-harming and potentially risking long-term mental health issues should be raising concern for the new Immigration Minister. Incidents of self-harm are a cry for help and children should be receiving the necessary physical and mental health care accompanied by their parents in an appropriate setting.

“We learnt from 7.30 that women who wish to end their pregnancy are no longer supported to travel to Australia for this procedure and Nauru does not support this practice. This means that women have no choice in something that matters so significantly to them. ACN continues to advocate for women to have the right to choose whether or not they are able to terminate a pregnancy,” said Adjunct Professor Ward.

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