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.”