Indemnity for medical evacuations from Nauru and Manus islands

Since the introduction of the Home Affairs Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill 2018 (the Bill), more commonly referred to as the Medevac Bill or the Urgent Medical Treatment Bill, certain legal issues of concern to members have been highlighted.

The Bill will allow for medical evacuations from Manus Island and Nauru where doctors are of the opinion that it is necessary to evacuate a detainee from either of those islands in order to provide appropriate treatment in Australia, which the person may not otherwise receive if he/she remains on either of those islands.

MIPS Membership benefits, including indemnity cover, do extend to those of its members who act in one or more of these defined roles.  Coverage under the Membership Benefits and Insurance Covers handbooks will be for the following:

MIPS was approached by the Medical Evacuations Response Group (MERG or Medevac), which describes itself as “a  partnership of specialist refugee support organisations who are working together to ensure the safe, orderly and effective implementation of applications… under the Medevac legislation.”

The MERG have defined roles for practitioners and MIPS members can be indemnified for their work in these roles.

MERG roles  Indemnity provided through MIPS membership
Triage group/
Medical Working Group/
Group for Specialist Review
Practitioners working within Defined Roles meet the definition of healthcare as per the MIPS Members’ Medical Indemnity Insurance Policy. 

MIPS indemnity extends to work performed within the definition of these roles such as reporting and assessment, coordinating healthcare practitioners and formal reporting after being briefed by lawyers. 

If you are not indemnified by your employer for your work in this role, you may need to update your membership classification with MIPS which may result in an additional fee.
 Critical Illness Working Group Case management of urgent cases would involve patient contact thus would be considered as undertaking gratuitous services outside of Australia and would need to comply with MIPS normal requirements. Members need to make an Application for Cover for Healthcare Services Outside of Australia, which  if your membership basis is ‘Employer indemnified only’, may result in an additional fee.

See the MERG process

map of nauru

As of 26 March 2019, there were 359 people left in Nauru and 547 left in PNG. As of 6 April 2019, 1 person had been transferred to Australia under the Medevac legislation.

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The materials provided are for educational purposes only. Whilst all reasonable care has been taken in preparing these materials, including the accuracy of the information supplied, MIPS does not accept any liability whatsoever arising out of the use or reliance of the information provided. Contact MIPS 24/7 Clinico-Legal Support 1800 061 113 or education@mips.com.au for specific advice.