Let’s not just keep The Medevac Bill , but also enforce it!

August 9, 2019

With The Federal House of Reps and Senate sitting the week starting

July 1st,The Government may try to kill off The Medevac Bill.

The federal court overturned Home Affairs Department’s attempt to block the medevac transfer of a critically ill 29-year-old Iraqi man from Nauru

-The court ruled that doctors don’t have to speak to a patient in order to make a medical assessment. In a judgement delivered on June 18th, Justice Mordecai Bromberg found in favour of the refugee, whose lawyers had claimed the department secretary, Mike Pezzullo, had refused to notify the minister of the man’s application for a medical transfer, which would commence the process. Clearly He, and Dutton, do not accept and even understand The Bill. With increasing cases of Resignation Syndrome on Manus and Nauru, this only adds to more detainees who can’t or won’t speak to , in this case a doctor, because of the terrible state they are in .Stuck in these offshore prisons, mental health is much more of a serious problem than physical health. But many are also suffering physical health problems, which is just exacerbating this long drawn out crisis. As Dutton and Pezzullo appear to be ignorant about medical and psychiatric health, and how to manage it, they need to butt  out and let due process be carried out. And they need to show respect to the exceptional medical profession we have in Australia.

Read further, in the article below,which appeared in The Guardian:

Bromberg ordered the minister for home affairs, Peter Dutton, be notified as soon as practicable that the man is to be assessed for transfer. Bromberg’s judgement appears to set an important precedent, ruling that a doctor’s assessment of a medical file without assessing the individual either in person or via teleconference is acceptable under the law. Under the medevac legislation passed earlier this year, a refugee seeking transfer to Australia for medical or psychiatric care is required to provide written assessments from two treating doctors to the department secretary. “After being notified by the secretary that a person is a relevant transitory person, the minister must approve, or refuse to approve, the person’s transfer to Australia,” the law reads. If the minister refuses on medical – rather than national security – grounds, the case goes to an independent medical panel for review.

However, lawyers for the Iraqi man, referred to as CCA19, said the secretary had “refused” to notify the minister “as soon as practicable”,

and successfully petitioned the federal court to compel him. It was not disputed that the two physicians – Dr Alvaro Manovel and Dr Michael

Dudley – were accepted as having the ability to provide assessments. Both Manovel and Dudley had determined CCA19 was not getting appropriate medical or psychiatric treatment on Nauru, which he required, and it was necessary to remove him from Nauru. Neither doctor personally interviewed or examined CCA19, but it was not clear from the judgement if this was related to the Nauru government’s ban on unapproved telemedicine. Pezzullo’s lawyers argued to the court that the assessments were not valid under the act “because of the absence (in each case) of any personal interaction or engagement with the applicant in the conduct of the assessment”, the judgement said.

 

Bromberg said CCA19 had interpreted the act’s phrase “remotely or in person” to mean the assessment could occur in person or not, and that an assessment of medical files “squarely fell within the language of the provision as an assessment conducted ‘remotely’”.

“On the respondent’s construction, the provision is to be understood as if it said: has assessed the transitory person in person or as though in person but remotely,” said Bromberg. However, he determined Pezzullo’s construction did “not withstand scrutiny” and was based on a fundamental assumption about the intentions of parliament in passing the law, and

which had not been established. Bromberg said he also “substantially overstate[d] the inherent importance of personal engagement in the conduct of a medical assessment” and that to do so ran counter to the beneficial aims of the medevac law. “Transitory persons for whom personal engagement with a “treating doctor” is not possible or not practicable

would be excluded at the starting gate,” he said. Once Dutton is notified

of CCA19’s required transfer he will have 72 hours to make a decision.

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