Fact sheet

Fact Check: The Government says Australians will lose out on medical help if refugees are brought here for treatment. Is that correct?

Liberal Party of Australia Refugees Hospitals
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton and Mathias Cormann, the Minister for Finance and the Public Service, all claimed that Australians faced being kicked off hospital waiting lists by an influx of asylum seekers and refugees seeking medical treatment in Australia under the so-called medevac legislation. RMIT ABC Fact Check investigated whether Australians would be displaced from hospital waiting lists if refugees and asylum seekers came to Australia for medical treatment under the new legislation. We found the claims made by the Prime Minister and frontbenchers are baseless. Australia's healthcare system is structured to allow for fluctuations in demand for hospital services. Experts consulted by Fact Check said even if all the refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru were to come to Australia for medical treatment, they could be accommodated without any material impact on hospital waiting lists. Assuming the refugees and asylum seekers were treated as public patients they would be prioritised in the same manner as Australian citizens, and would attract Commonwealth funding that is provided to hospitals to manage extra patients. Accordingly, emergency patients would be triaged and given immediate medical treatment. Patients requiring non-emergency medical treatment would be categorised according to need and placed on waiting lists.
Verdict: Baseless
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