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New level of health care for refugees in Queensland

People of a refugee background arriving in Queensland now have access to comprehensive health assessments, immunisations and ongoing health care following the launch of Refugee Health Queensland.

The service, which commenced operation at Woolloongabba in February 2009, is run by Mater Health Services with funding from Queensland Health.

It will join forces with the existing Queensland Integrated Refugee Community Health (QIRCH) Clinic to offer a consolidated refugee health care centre, providing both assessment and extended care services.

Senior Medical Officer Dr Megan Evans, who provides clinical guidance and support to staff at the centre, said the commencement of the new service signalled exciting times for refugee health in Queensland.

“Many people who have been working in the field of refugee health have contributed to developing this comprehensive service that meets refugee health needs and addresses current problems, such as limited pre-departure health screening and the differing health standards of overseas nations,” Dr Evans said.

All people of a refugee background arriving in Queensland will now be referred to Refugee Health Queensland for a full health assessment—this service will be their first contact with the state government’s health system. Appropriate investigations, treatment and referrals will be initiated before the person is transitioned into the general health care stream.

“We are confident this mode of service delivery will improve health outcomes for people of a refugee background,” Dr Evans said.

Refugee Health Queensland provides a statewide service through six clinics in key districts at Townsville, Cairns, Toowoomba, Logan and Zillmere, in addition to Woolloongabba.

Approximately 1600 people of a refugee background arrived in Queensland in 2009, with 65 per cent of those concentrated in the south east corner.

Refugee Health Queensland team outside of their new premise.

The Refugee Health Queensland team outside their new premises.

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