The immigrant health service includes weekly outpatient clinics (Mondays 13:00 - 17:00 at desk A5, Tuesday mornings and Thursdays), patient consultations, education for service providers and work in policy development. The service is supported by the Victorian Government Department of Health (DH), including support for the refugee health fellows program. We use telehealth/phone appointments flexibly - to minimise transport and where this is family preference. We still provide a comprehensive approach to physical and mental health for children and young people who arrived as refugees or seeking asylum.
All children within a family can be seen at the same visit to minimise trips to the hospital. In addition, every attempt is made to combine appointments for other services (such as eye review and audiology) with clinic times. A detailed summary is provided for the referring doctor with an ongoing plan for management; families receive a copy of this letter. The service is free of charge for all refugee and asylum seeker children.
- Combined medical and mental health care, multidisciplinary assessment service - we can provide medical and education/developmental assessment/care, mental health/psychiatry assessment/care, oral health assessment and health promotion, catch-up vaccinations, Mantoux testing and administration of Vitamin D as needed. Post-arrival health screening and age assessment can be provided where required.
- Staff - include 4 consultant paediatricians, 3 fellows, a psychiatrist, senior child mental health clinician, a clinic coordinator, social worker and a dental therapist. Male and female clinicians are available, clinician languages include Farsi, Tamil, and Auslan, our clinician coordinator speaks Arabic and Syriac. Staff have experience in refugee health, general paediatrics, child development, autism assessment, adolescent health, forensic medicine, child and adolescent psychiatry and mental healthcare.
- Other services - Pathology, radiology, immunisation and pharmacy are available onsite, alongside all other hospital services. We have regular secondary mental health consultations, and we are also supported by the RCH Education Institute.
- Linked care - we have close links to primary health care providers, the Royal Dental Hospital and settlement/community organisations working in refugee health.
- Affiliated services are available in Footscray (CoHealth), Sunshine, Hoppers Crossing, Craigieburn, Darebin (Your Community Health) and Ringwood (EACH) - please see contact details for other paediatric refugee services.
In 2023 our refugee health fellows are Dr Davina Buntsma (Mon-Fri) and Dr Priya Sundaravel and Dr Amy Williamson work in clinic on Mondays, Amy also works at coHealth on Thursdays. Davina can be contacted for advice or coordination on email@example.com or 9345 5522, pager 7142.
Referrals - key information
Referrals should be clearly marked to Immigrant health clinic (attention Natale Massa) fax 9345 5034. If the referral is urgent it is always fine to email (firstname.lastname@example.org) as well, and we are happy for direct contact from refugee health nurses/program. There are now 12 paediatric refugee clinics across metro and regional areas in Victoria - we all work closely together - please refer to your local service. Please include the following information in referrals:
- Reason for referral
- Accurate contact details, case worker details where possible, all languages spoken (note dialect if relevant) and interpreter requirement
- Medicare status and
asylum seeker status
- Any previous investigations - bloods, radiology, other investigations - ideally including results, but a list of tests ordered and pathology service used is still helpful
- Vaccination records (even if these are not translated)
- Offshore information and HAP ID number if known OR any past summaries. IHMS assistance phone 02 9025 2891; Fax: +61 2 9086 9858 (previously 1800 725 518) is a useful source of information for people in Community Detention.
Based on our clinical experience, we think the following always warrant paediatric review in refugee/asylum seeker patients (and should be referred to a paediatrician):
- Age assessment/clarification of birthdate
- All unaccompanied minors or orphan relative visa holders
- Developmental delay or disability
- Malnutrition - weight/BMI
<5th centile for age
- Complex medical issues
- Offshore detention or prolonged immigration detention.
Translated appointment reminder tools
Immigrant health resources. Updated Apr 2023. Contact email@example.com