Wednesday, 15 August 2018
Questions without Notice
My question is to Senator Fifield, representing the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. I refer to the Queensland coroner's report of two weeks ago on the preventable death of Iranian asylum seeker Hamid Khazaei, who fell gravely ill while in detention on Manus Island. The coroner recommended a new process for medical transfers, including allowing local doctors to approve emergency transfers without needing to wait for Canberra's rubber stamp. He also recommended audits of offshore detention centres and that they be brought up to the standard of Australian detention centres. Will the government enact these recommendations?
I thank Senator Griff for the question. I express our condolences to the family of Mr Hamid Khazaei. The government is currently considering the coroner's findings and recommendations. The government has already taken action to improve the capacity of health services in regional processing countries, including through the upgrade of facilities at the East Lorengau Refugee Transit Centre.
Senator McKim interjecting—
Minister, I would appreciate it if you would take on notice that last question as well. The coroner said that the care Mr Khazaei received at the Pacific International Hospital was inadequate and clinicians 'did not have the necessary clinical skills to deal with his presentation'. Given that PIH is now being contracted to deliver health services on Manus, does the government hold concerns about the standard of care it can deliver?
I will do as the senator asked in relation to the first supplementary and take the time frame on notice. In terms of the final supplementary from Senator Griff, general practitioner, nursing and mental health clinics are available on Manus. There is also after-hours medical staffing to respond to any medical emergencies. These services are supplemented by visiting health practitioners and telehealth services where required. In addition, transferees on Manus have access to a range of clinical specialties, including emergency medicine, a 24/7 emergency evacuation service, general surgery and blood supply services. In total, since July 2015 the government has spent $291 million on health service contracts on regional processing countries. As I indicated before, I will take on notice your first supplementary.