8 Jan 2004

Nauru invites Australian doctors to help hunger-striking asylum seekers

3:22 pm on 8 January 2004

The Nauru government has invited a group of Australian Medical Association doctors to help hunger-striking asylum seekers.

The invitation comes after reports Nauru's medical services are overstretched with just three local doctors on hand to treat the 35 hunger strikers.

Rohan Vora, a member of the Australian Medical Association hoping to assess the asylum seekers, says he's unsure at this time whether the group will be given full access to the patients.

But he says with a looming crisis for Nauru's healthcare, the invitation is a good sign.

"And the independent stance of the Nauruan government is a good sign - I think they've been taking most of their orders from Australia until recently unfortunately. And now I think they're starting to feel they can be more independent about it all, given the crisis situation that is developing. So I guess the question's going to be what the parameters are in the invitation from the Nauru government, you know, what basis we are going over there on."

The Australian Medical Association's Rohan Vora.