AMA Calls for Transparency of Mental Health Services in Australia's Detention Centres
Apr 11, 2005 - 8:31:38 PM

AMA President, Dr Bill Glasson, called for greater transparency of the mental health services provided in Australia's detention centres following ongoing claims this week of detainees continuing to suffer serious mental health disorders while in detention.

Two detainees are currently relaying their experiences to the Federal Court of the poor mental health care they are alleged to be receiving in the Baxter Detention Centre. The ABC's Four Corners program last night presented further witness claims of Cornelia Rau's poor state of mental health and treatment while detained at Baxter, as well as in a Brisbane jail.

We keep hearing claims of the poor mental health suffered by detainees within Australia's detention environment," Dr Glasson said.

"Many of these detainees arrive in Australia having already experienced great mental and emotional stress. Evidence continues to show that the detention environment lends itself to further deterioration of the mental health of so many of the detainees.

"There is a lack of transparency surrounding the mental health services provided in detention centres.

"Information relayed to the public through the media often details conflicting accounts of the mental health care received by detainees. The detainees and their advocates claim one thing and detention management and Government say another.

"Doctors have an ethical duty to act independently and make objective clinical decisions based on the best interests of their patients, not their employer.

"Greater transparency will ensure that doctors are further supported to abide by their duty of care to their patients.

"This is not about politics – about who's 'right or wrong' or who's 'legal or illegal'. It's about affording detainees the respect and human dignity that we all deserve," Dr Glasson said.

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