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Govt must establish 24-hr medical services for fragile detainees

Reports today that the ambulance called to Villawood to attend the suicide of a detainee on Tuesday night was phoned by a member of the public outside the facility is another reason why there must be 24-hour medical care at all detention centres, the Greens said today.

"With each day comes another sad revelation about the circumstances which led confirmed refugee ‘Shooty' to take his own life, because he was ignored by those meant to ensure his protection," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said.

"There is no excuse for not having 24-hour medical care and a resident psychiatrist available at each detention facility. On a daily basis detainees are suffering mental illness, anxiety and attempting self-harm as a result of their incarceration and lack of appropriate medical and psychiatric support.

"If the Government is going to keep asylum seekers locked up in detention, they must provide the basic medical support and treatment they need. This is clearly not happening.

"The Greens also back the statement today by a coalition of health groups calling for the government to immediately release into the community all mentally-fragile detainees and others at risk, as a matter of urgency."

Today we also have more reports of self-harm in the Darwin Detention Centre involving a man while two other detainees are protesting on the roof for a fourth day.

"The government must take steps today for a permanent fix to the persistent problems with detention centres," Sen. Hanson-Young said.

"These are: moving people into the community after an initial health and security check, 30-day limits on detention and for any extensions beyond that to be reviewed by a court.

"In the meantime, making sure doctors, psychologists and mental health experts are caring for those in detention who are suffering -- rather than security guards trained to lower standards than nightclub bouncers -- would be a start."


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