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Use of Royal Darwin Hospital emergency department by immigration detainees in 2011

Deans, Adrienne K., Boerma, Clare J., Fordyce, James, De Souza, Mark, Palmer, Didier J. and Davis, Joshua S. (2013). Use of Royal Darwin Hospital emergency department by immigration detainees in 2011. Medical Journal of Australia,199(11):776-778.

Document type: Journal Article
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IRMA ID cmartelxPUB141
NHMRC Grant No. 1013411
Title Use of Royal Darwin Hospital emergency department by immigration detainees in 2011
Author Deans, Adrienne K.
Boerma, Clare J.
Fordyce, James
De Souza, Mark
Palmer, Didier J.
Davis, Joshua S.
Journal Name Medical Journal of Australia
Publication Date 2013
Volume Number 199
Issue Number 11
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-84890391651
Start Page 776
End Page 778
Total Pages 3
Place of Publication Australia
Publisher Australasian Medical Publishing Company
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DIISR)
Abstract Objective: To describe the number and nature of emergency department (ED) attendances by immigration detainees in Darwin, in the Northern Territory, over a 12-month period.

Design and setting:
Retrospective observational study of immigration detainees attending the Royal Darwin Hospital ED during the 2011 calendar year.

Main outcome measures:
Number of ED attendances and primary diagnoses.

In 2011, there were 770 ED attendances by 518 individual detainees at Royal Darwin Hospital. Those who attended the ED had a mean (SD) age of 27.6 (12.2) years, and 112 of them (21.6%) were children. Most (413, 79.7%) were male, and Iran and Afghanistan were the two most common countries of birth. We estimate that 50.1% (95% CI, 47.0%–53.2%) of immigration detainees in Darwin (mean, 776 per month; total, 1034), attended the Royal Darwin Hospital ED at least once in 2011. The most common primary diagnosis was psychiatric problems (187 attendances, 24.3%), including self-harm (138 attendances, 17.9%).

In 2011, asylum seekers in immigration detention in Darwin had a high prevalence of unmet health needs and substantial levels of psychiatric morbidity. The primary health care provided to them was inadequate.

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