In this section
This page provides a guide for caseworkers on service access for refugee and asylum seeker children and families. A presentation is available to provide training on service access (see
Ambulance services are
free in an emergency and public hospitals and related services are free for all refugees and asylum seekers, including asylum seekers in Community Detention. See:
Victorian Government information,
ambulance payment guidelines,
asylum seeker identification.
All permanent entrants to Australia have an
immigration medical examination (IME) 3-12 months before they travel (see
overview of the health requirement), Humanitarian entrants are offered an additional (voluntary)
departure health check in the week prior to travel. These assessments rule out public health issues and make sure people are ‘fit to fly’. Health screening in Immigration detention is similar to the IME. Screening for children is limited, including for children who have been in immigration
refugee health assessment is recommended for all people arriving as refugees or seeking asylum after they arrive in Australia, including after release from detention where relevant.
Have they had:
Have the results been checked? Have abnormal results been treated? The screening and follow up of results will take at least 2 visits.
Catch-up vaccinations are provided through general practitioners (GPs) or local councils. They may also be provided at English language school (through outreach council programs), asylum seeker healthcare services, paediatric refugee health specialist clinics or hospital based services.
Refugee health teams provide advice on referral pathways and services. See
directory of local teams.
General Practitioners can provide physical and mental health care, preventive health care, catch-up vaccinations, and refugee health screening. GPs are available through community health centres (free), local bulk-billing doctors (free) or local private doctors (fees vary and there may be gap
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efugee health teams will know of local GPs with refugee health experience.
Maternal and Child Health Services (MCH) support parenting and children’s health and development from birth until school age. MCH provide advice on playgroups and community programs, some MCH services provide immunisation. Routine checks are due at birth, 2w, 4w, 8w, 4m, 8m, 12m, 18m, 2y and 3.5yrs.
pharmacists have access to Translation and Interpreting Services (TIS).
Dental servicesare free to all refugees and asylum seekers, and all children aged 0-12 years – these groups are identified as
priority access groups. See
local service directory
checks can be accessed at commercial bulk-billing optometrists for clients with Medicare or at the
Australian College Optometry(and associated
rural access), which also has affordable glasses. School-age children may have their vision checked at school entry (this varies).
checks can be accessed at
audiology services. Hearing aids are available through
occupational therapy and speech therapy are available through:
Kindergarten is essential for children’s development and to prepare them for school – see
advocacy/consumer liaison is available in all hospitals for all patients, and is an important resource for progressing concerns or adverse events, or providing positive/other feedback.
Services - Interpreter services are a right and entitlement for families with low English proficiency.
Community detention: TIS can be accessed for health care of all clients
in community detention (see detail in presentation below).