Healthcare groups offer medical asylum

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Two of Australia’s large Catholic healthcare providers have joined the groundswell of voices calling for the Government to let the asylum seekers stay rather than be deported to Nauru. Major Australian cities will see Stand For Sanctuary rallies this evening. Read on for details…

Two of Australia’s largest Catholic healthcare organisations have offered to provide medical support to any of the 267 asylum seekers applying for church sanctuary to avoid their forced removal to the Nauru detention centre and are encouraging other hospital groups to do the same.

This act of moral leadership comes just days after churches around Australia, in a true act of compassion and political defiance, boldly offered sanctuary within their walls to these people. Premier Daniel Andrews also offered the entire state of Victoria as a sanctuary for the 267 people in line for deportation.

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St Vincent’s Health Australia – which has hospitals in NSW, Queensland and Victoria – and Calvary Health Care – which has hospitals in NSW, Tasmania, South Australia, Victoria and the ACT – said their decision to offer medical support to those seeking church sanctuary reflected their ‘sacred duty’ as healing organisations.

“Our hospitals have sacred duties of care – that we support people who need healing; that we help prevent people falling into ill health or harm,” said Jack de Groot, Head of Mission at St Vincent’s Health Australia. “The group of 267 asylum seekers affected by Wednesday’s High Court decision are all in Australia either receiving or having received medical attention. They are vulnerable. They are at risk.

“If any of these individuals pursue the invitation of churches to seek sanctuary in the cities where our organisations have hospitals and healthcare teams, we’ll do whatever we can to make sure they receive the medical attention they need”.

“Let’s be clear”, said John Watkins, Chair of Calvary, “Nauru and the conditions in which these people were detained either caused or exacerbated their ill health. Many of this group are still wrestling with their illnesses or are traumatised at the prospect of their return and need medical attention. Sending them back to Nauru will only make them sicker and put them at risk of disease, violence and mental illness. We can’t stand by and watch that happen – we have to become involved.”

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Tonight, Monday night, tens of thousands of people will stand up across Australia to demand the government keep these 267 children, men and women safe in Australia.
What: Sydney Stands for Sanctuary – rally to #letthemstay
When: Monday 8 February 6pm – 7.30pm
Who: Speakers will include faith leaders, doctors, former refugees and former detention centre staff.
Bring: A sign that says Let Them Stay

Previously on Nurse Uncut:

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