Log in with your email address username.

×

Attention doctorportal newsletter subscribers,

After December 2018, we will be moving elements from the doctorportal newsletter to MJA InSight newsletter and rebranding it to Insight+. If you’d like to continue to receive a newsletter covering the latest on research and perspectives in the medical industry, please subscribe to the Insight+ newsletter here.

As of January 2019, we will no longer be sending out the doctorportal email newsletter. The final issue of this newsletter will be distributed on 13 December 2018. Articles from this issue will be available to view online until 31 December 2018.

Are some more equal than others? Challenging the basis for prisoners’ exclusion from Medicare

- Featured Image

A mixed funding approach can help meet the urgent requirement for a level of health care in prison commensurate with need and equivalent to community standards

Consistent with global literature,1 prisoners in Australia experience profound health disparities relative to those who have not been incarcerated, with a disproportionate burden of mental illness, chronic and communicable diseases.2,3 Many prisoners have complex histories of disadvantage encompassing family violence, unstable housing, limited education, unemployment and economic adversity. Risky health-related behaviours including smoking, illicit drug use, harmful alcohol consumption and unsafe sexual practices are common in incarcerated populations.2

Correctional settings are uniquely placed to detect health problems, initiate care and promote health in a way that is unlikely to occur in the community, with important public health implications for the communities to which prisoners return.4 It is paradoxical, therefore, that prisoners are excluded from Australia’s universal health care scheme — Medicare — while incarcerated. Instead, health care for prisoners is transferred to state and territory government departments for the duration of their incarceration.

email