LETTER TO PRIME MINISTER SCOTT MORRISON
The Australian College of Mental Health Nurses invites all Australian nurses and midwives to join us in calling for Prime Minister Scott Morrison and all MPs in Federal Parliament to evacuate over 85 children and their families off Nauru and Manus Island. The AMA (Australian Medical Association), Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) and a host of other peak NGO and health professional groups have already advocated to the government on behalf of this vulnerable group of people. We believe that nurses and midwives, as the most trusted health professional group and the largest clinical health workforce in Australia, have a responsibility to add our voice to the calls for the humane treatment of the refugees on Nauru.
Together, we can make a difference.
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The Hon Scott Morrison MP
CANBERRA ACT 2600
Dear Prime Minister
We are calling for you and all the MPs in Federal Parliament to evacuate over 85 children and their families off Nauru to safety in Australia. We join other peak NGOs and groups of health professionals in Australia and echo the sentiments of advocacy of these groups including the recent advocacy of the AMA (Australian Medical Association).
In particular, we call for:
All asylum seeker children and their families on Nauru and in Manus PNG to be brought to Australia without delay.
The proper and immediate professional thorough and independent mental health assessment of all asylum seekers managed by Australia in Nauru and Manus, PNG, by multidisciplinary Australian registered health professionals including medical officers and nurses.
Where mental health assessment of asylum seekers reveals the need for treatment, that these individuals are brought to Australia to receive this treatment urgently, without penalty, together with their family members, so that family units are not further fractured and separated unnecessarily.
As nurses and midwives, we hold a specific societal responsibility to advocate for the fair and compassionate treatment of people who are at risk and in need of health care, including those who are enduring mental health distress and despair. As the largest clinical health workforce in Australia, our collective voice should be united and strong on the principles that underlie our professions:
To promote mental and physical health, to support recovery and overall wellbeing, to treat all people with dignity, regardless of state, religion, or politics, and without prejudice, access to reasonable mental health care where and when it is needed.
To do all we can to ensure that human rights are upheld and no person in our jurisdiction is exposed to degrading and inhuman treatment.
At the heart of our professional identity, as nurses and midwives, it is our responsibility to advocate for fair and compassionate treatment for those who are profoundly vulnerable and at risk of harm or death, including that which is related to their state of mental distress or despair.
Currently, asylum seekers in Regional Processing Arrangements are in our Australian jurisdiction, are profoundly vulnerable, exposed to excruciating uncertainty and unendurable hopelessness.
We are particularly concerned for the well-being of infants, children and young people. It is time for us to act for their optimal mental health care and overall health and wellbeing.
Adjunct Associate Professor Kim Ryan
CEO, Australian College of Mental Health Nurses