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RANZCP supports changes to allow urgent mental healthcare for children and families on Nauru

04 December 2018

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) joins other medical colleges in their call for legislative change to allow for the urgent removal of critically ill children and their families held in immigration detention at the recommendation of qualified medical professionals.

The Urgent Medical Treatment Bill introduced into Parliament by Professor Kerryn Phelps seeks to facilitate the transfer of those asylum seekers and refugees who require medical, especially psychiatric, assessment and treatment.

The RANZCP President, Dr Kym Jenkins said: ‘The specialist services required to treat children and their families with the severe mental health problems common among asylum seekers and refugees are generally unavailable in detention settings such as Nauru.

‘In such cases, specialist care may be urgently required and transfers to a location where ongoing and adequate specialist care is available should be facilitated in a timely manner to minimize distress and worsening health.’

The RANZCP believes that all children and their families have the right to equal access to healthcare regardless of their immigration status.

For further information, please view RANZCP Position Statement 52.
ENQUIRIES: Andy Newton at or +61 437 315 911

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists is a membership organisation that prepares medical specialists in the field of psychiatry, supports and enhances clinical practice, advocates for people affected by mental illness and advises governments on mental health care. For information about our work, our members or our history, visit

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