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About the Immigrant Health Service

  • The immigrant health service includes weekly outpatient clinics (main clinic Monday afternoons at A5, fellow clinic Thursday afternoon at desk D), consultations, and work in education/policy/guideline development. The service is supported by the Victorian Department of Health (DH), including support for the refugee health fellows program. 

    All children within a family can be seen at the same visit, and every attempt is made to combine appointments for other services (such as eye review and audiology) with clinic times. We use telehealth/phone appointments flexibly, to minimise transport, and where this is family preference.  A detailed summary is provided for the referring doctor with an ongoing plan for management; families receive a copy of this letter. We provide a comprehensive approach to physical and mental health for children and young people who arrived as refugees or seeking asylum, and the service is free of charge. 

    • 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, 2 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, our clinician coordinator speaks Arabic and Syriac. Staff have experience in refugee health, general paediatrics, child development, autism assessment, 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.
    • Linked care - we have close links to primary health care providers, the Refugee Health Program, 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.

    Refugee fellows and clinic coordinator

    In 2024, our refugee health fellows are Dr Elliot Lyon (Mon/Tues/Thurs/Fri) and Dr Amy Williamson (Mon), Amy also works at coHealth on Thursdays. The fellows can be contacted for advice or coordination on refugee.fellow@rch.org.au or 9345 5522, pager 7142. Our clinic coordinator is Natale Massa - (Mon/Tues/Thurs), email natale.massa@rch.org.au.

    Referrals - key information

    Referral formReferrals should be clearly marked to Immigrant health clinic, fax 9345 5034. We would prefer to see all children in a family if possible (with simultaneous referrals). If the referral is urgent, it is always fine to call/email as well. There are now 12 paediatric refugee clinics across metro and regional Victoria - working 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 - ideally including results, although a list of tests ordered and which pathology service is still helpful
    • Vaccination records (even if these are not translated)
    • Medications
    • 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

    Caseworker resources

    Other

    Immigrant health resources. Updated January 2024. Contact georgia.paxton@rch.org.au