Although Australia receives a significant number of humanitarian arrivals every year, relatively little data is available about the health needs of recently arrived refugees in Australia. The few studies that have investigated health needs report poorer health status, higher rates of long-term physical and psychological conditions, and greater number of visits to health care providers among humanitarian arrivals compared with immigrants with other visa categories. Some of the health problems identified include psychological disorders (anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder), nutritional deficiencies, infectious diseases (tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and intestinal parasites), poor dental health, poorly managed chronic conditions, under-immunisation and delayed growth in children, and physical sequelae of torture.
A significant gap in knowledge is the lack of population data on acute health care service utilisation amongst refugee communities. The present report addresses this research gap by examining Victorian hospital admissions from 1998-99 and 2003-04.
This report is one of the first to investigate acute health care service utilisation amongst a population from a refugee background in Australia. It compares hospital admissions and related outcomes between Victorian residents born in a number of refugee-source countries and those born in Australia. More specifically, the report identifies trends of hospitalisations, hospital admission and separation types, Diagnosis Related Groups (DRGs), Ambulatory Case Sensitive Conditions (ACSCs), and length of stay. Profiles of infectious/parasitic diseases and mental/behavioural conditions are also analysed. The study also identifies areas of service provision that may not be adequate in addressing the health needs of refugee communities and reducing the health inequalities in the Victorian community.