Meeting the health needs of people from refugee backgrounds is critical to their successful settlement in NSW. When people are healthy, they are better able to work, study, engage and contribute to society.

NSW Health has a proud history of being a leader in providing health care services targeted to refugees. Over three decades ago, NSW was one of the first jurisdictions in the world to acknowledge the special health needs of people from refugee backgrounds.

NSW Health established the first specialised refugee health service in 1988 with the launch of the NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors. In 1999, NSW Health published the first Refugee Health Plan in Australia, and in the same year, the statewide NSW Refugee Health Service was established by South Western Sydney Area Health Service.

Since then, NSW Health’s commitment to providing access to health services for people from refugee backgrounds has grown substantially. The NSW Government expanded and enhanced services in 2016/17 to ensure the right services and supports are in place to help newly arrived refugees re-build their lives in NSW.

Many of NSW Health’s specialised refugee health services form a ‘gateway’ to appropriate healthcare, conducting on-arrival assessments and directing people to the right services for ongoing routine healthcare or to specialised services to manage particular health conditions.

NSW Health’s specialised refugee health services also include programs and services provided by:

NSW Refugee Health Plan

NSW Health is currently reviewing the NSW Refugee Health Plan (2011-2016) (the Plan), which is the statewide plan for improving the health and well-being of refugees and people with refugee-like experiences who have settled in NSW.

The Plan outlines a model of refugee health care which promotes refugee health and well-being through providing high quality specialised refugee health services and fostering the provision of high-quality, accessible mainstream care to refugees.

To support the development of the new Plan, a review of the current Plan has been undertaken. This includes an evidence review. The new plan will be completed soon.

Page Updated: Friday 4 October 2019