N.L. doctors appeal to feds to reverse cuts to health-care for refugees

James McLeod
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Doctors Pauline Duke (left) and Norah Duggan speak to reporters in St. John’s Monday about cuts to refugee health care in Canada.  — Photo by James McLeod/The Telegram

Doctors in Newfoundland and Labrador have joined voices with people from across the country who are calling on the federal government to reverse cuts to health care for refugees.

At a news conference in St. John’s, doctors from the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association called federal cuts reckless and ill-informed.

“Since June 2012, changes to the program have resulted in important health services for refugee claimants being eliminated or restricted, leaving many patients to suffer in silence,” said Dr. Pauline Duke, who is also a member of the Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care steering committee. “Canadians recognize basic primary care as a human right, and we need to ensure that this is not taken away from some of the most vulnerable members of our society.”

Duke said refugees in Canada have been denied chemotherapy and other treatments as a result of their status.

“We know that waiting until patients are forced to go to emergency departments does not save the system money. It will only cost the system more in the long run,” she said. “Our hope is that all refugee claimants in Canada will have access to medically necessary care no matter where they are born.”


Organizations: College of Family Physicians of Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association, Newfoundland and Labrador Chapter

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

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Recent comments

  • Will Cole
    June 18, 2013 - 22:49

    That a government of Canada would come up with such morally repellant policies as to deny the sick and infirm medical care... is nothing less than despicable.

  • John
    June 18, 2013 - 20:19

    Until they are granted refugee status, they should be treated only as far as necessary to keep alive. If they want to become Canadian citizens the proper way; do the paper work and whatever time it takes to legally become a legal Canadian refugee/citizen.

  • Paper Tiger
    June 18, 2013 - 12:46

    It doesn't really matter that there no savings from cutting this programme. It makes no difference that the cuts are reckless and inhumane or that they violates basic human rights. The real reason behind these cuts is to appeal to the deep-seated bigotry behind the Conservative base. Like getting "tough' on 'crime,' 'terrorism,' the unemployed, unions, pacifists, the poor, etc. Tories know they can score cheap points by alarming us with these bogeymen then attacking the most defenseless in society with the thankful approval of the frightened majority.