November 2014 | Research papers
Christine Phillips, MBBS, MPH, MA, FRACGP, Associate Professor, Academic Unit of General Practice and Community Health, Medical School, Australian National University, ACT. [email protected] au
Since 1945, more than 700 000 refugees and displaced persons, survivors of conflicts in over 60 countries, have resettled in Australia. Every general practitioner (GP) will have patients who have had refugee-like experiences.
To describe the health needs of survivors of war and conflict in the immediate and long-term resettlement periods.
In the immediate post-settlement period, refugees and asylum seekers will need assessment, catch-up primary healthcare and, in some cases, psychological support. Although refugees are generally a resilient group, enhanced support may be needed over key life periods: childbirth, rearing of young children and entering frail age. Asylum seekers (who do not have permanent visas) often face structural impediments to healthcare access and may be unable to meet basic health needs; GPs need to be aware of the enhanced need for psychological safety in addition to catch-up healthcare in this population.