Queensland GP Dr Christopher Jones was working as doctor on Nauru. (YouTube: IPN Medical Centres Australia)
The ABC understands the most senior medical officer working with asylum seekers on Nauru has been removed from the island amid an ongoing stoush over the transfer of patients off the island.
- The Queensland doctor was employed by an Australian Government contractor as a locum on Nauru
- On Wednesday, the Australian Federal Court heard the Nauruan Government had blocked the medical evacuation of a woman needing psychiatric treatment
- Nauru is currently hosting the Pacific Islands Forum event, and have banned the ABC from attending
Dr Christopher Jones, a Queensland GP, was told by the Australian Government’s contractor, International Health and Medical Services(IHMS), that his visa was revoked last Thursday and he left the island the following day.
It was the Gold Coast doctor’s second deployment to Nauru as a locum with IHMS.
It is not known if his employment has been terminated.
The ABC understands his departure follows an increased number of requests to the Nauruan Government’s Overseas Medical Referral system for transfers of children off the island due to medical conditions and self-harm.
Both Dr Jones and a spokesperson for IHMS said they were unable to comment.
It comes as an urgent Federal Court hearing on Wednesday heard the Nauruan Government blocked the medical evacuation of a woman needing urgent psychiatric treatment from Nauru, despite Australian court orders stipulating she be brought to Australia for treatment.
The court heard a senior member of the Nauruan Government refused to grant approval for the refugee to be transferred to Australia via air ambulance, along with her brother, deeming it was not a medical emergency.
Over the weekend, Nauruan President Baron Waqa used an interview with Sky News to allege that refugee advocates, along with the children’s parents, were “pushing” refugee children to self-harm.
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“We tend to think … these kids are pushed into doing something they’re not aware of and the dangers of — if that is the case we are extremely worried,” President Waqa said.
“It’s the way of working the system, probably short-circuiting it, just to get to Australia.”
Refugee advocates have strongly denied the claims.
Nauru is currently hosting the Pacific Islands Forum event with international media representatives on the island. The ABC has been banned from attending.
The Australian Department of Home Affairs said the doctor’s visa issue was “a matter for the Government of Nauru”.
A spokeswoman for the Nauruan Government said she was unable to confirm that Dr Jones’s visa was revoked.