Deputy Premier and Minister for Health Carmel Tebbutt announced this month that a re-elected Keneally Government would invest $6.85 million over four years to employ 15 refugee health nurses across NSW to undertake health assessments for refugees.
The additional refugee health nurses will maintain and improve the quality and efficiency of health services provided to refugees and other humanitarian entrants to Australia who settle in NSW, she said.
In the past decade, NSW has received more than 40,000 refugees and humanitarian entrants and the new nurses will be located in areas in which large numbers of refugees are settling.
These newly arrived refugees are highly diverse in respect of their ethnicity, age, religion and socio-economic status. Many have fled situations of war, extreme persecution, violence, abuse and abrogation of human rights.
“Refugee health nurses are generally the first point of contact for newly arrived refugees providing initial assessment and referral to other medical and health services and they continue to provide coordinated care to refugees in partnership with GPs,” she said.
“These new nurses will help protect and sustain the health and wellbeing of refugees and ensure equity of access to local health services.”
Ms Tebbutt also announced a one-off grant of $40,000 for the Asylum Seekers Centre, which carries out invaluable work caring for vulnerable and often traumatised people.
Ms Tebbutt said the boost to health services reflected the recommendations of the new statewide, five year NSW Refugee Health Plan.
Over the past five years, the largest number of refugee and humanitarian entrants to Australia has settled in NSW and Victoria, with NSW receiving 32 per cent (20,494) of the total number of Australian humanitarian entrants.
Have you ever been involved in nursing or working with refugees? What health services do you think they need most urgently?
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