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Statement Regarding Medical Evacuation Of Asylum Seekers

A spokesperson from the Department of Home Affairs provided the following statement.

The measures introduced by the Government earlier this week are about strengthening the medical transfer process which has always been a feature of Operation Sovereign Borders.

Medical transfers occur on a case-by-case basis, on the advice of treating doctors in PNG and Nauru and in consultation with a medical officer of the Commonwealth.

The Medical Transfer Clinical Assurance Panel will provide an additional layer of oversight of decisions for the medical transfer of individuals from regional processing countries. The decision on whether or not to make a medical transfer will remain a matter for the Government.

The Panel will be chaired by a nominee of the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer, together with other respected clinicians including members with torture and trauma counselling experience. The decision on whether or not to make a medical transfer will remain a matter for the Government.

The Secretary of the Department of Home Affairs said at the last Senate Estimates in October 2018, that there were approximately 600 people in Australia on temporary medical transfers.