• Austria's news in English
Asylum seekers given priority for hospital visits
Refugees arriving at Vienna's Westbahnhof station. File photo: Caritas

Asylum seekers given priority for hospital visits

The Local · 9 Feb 2016, 12:59

Published: 09 Feb 2016 12:59 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The reason is that many asylum seekers need expensive translators to help communicate with doctors, and officials do not want to pay for the translators to sit around waiting.

The problem was highlighted last week when large numbers of people turned up at hospitals because of a flu epidemic, and had to wait to see doctors whilst asylum seekers were given priority treatment.

As part of the asylum process, refugees get a health check. With 90,000 asylum seekers registered last year, this has put a huge strain on health resources.

Austrian officials have confirmed that they have been ordered not to make asylum seekers wait and to give them fast track treatment.

"Priority is being given to asylum seekers because of the issue with translators," said Ralph Luger, from the KAV (Krankenanstaltenverbundes) health board in Vienna which runs more than a dozen hospitals in the capital. 

Martin Gantner from the charity Caritas said that it meant asylum seekers were given priority in the same way that prisoners or people with disabilities are also be prioritised.

He added that although many refugees were given a social insurance card, most of them failed to take it with them when they visited doctors or hospitals, and the language barrier meant it caused further delays in already overstretched hospitals.

Austrian Doctors’ Association spokeswoman Sarah Schernthaner said: "Without the card we don't know if the person is just passing through or if they are seeking asylum in Austria, and there is no chance of the costs being refunded without the card."

Story continues below…

The extra stress has considerably changed the attitude of Austrian medics. In September last year close to 500 doctors offered their services for asylum seekers. Since then, however, the number has shrunk to between 150 and 200.

Story courtesy of Central European News.

For more news from Austria, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
'UFO' sightings in skies above Vienna and Graz
File image of an alleged UFO. Photo: Flickr/Dimapolo

Worried Austrians called police and posted videos online after sighting a UFO-like device above the capital Vienna.

Austrian police rescue 47 puppies from animal smuggler
Photo: Landespolizeidirektion Burgenland

Austrian police have seized 47 puppies found in a car at the Hungarian border.

Call for FPÖ chief's Facebook page to be shut
Heinz-Christian Strache. Photo: Facebook/Personal

The Austrian lawyer who filed a criminal case against the leader of the Freedom Party for inciting hatred has called for his Facebook page to be shut down.

Female terror suspect 'planned suicide attack'
Photo: Paul Gillingwater

Police have arrested the wife of a Chechen terror suspect after they found evidence that the pair were planning a suicide attack in Austria.

'Death must be Viennese', and not just at Halloween
Prater amusement features memento mori. Photo: Paul Gillingwater

Dominik Creazzi, "Paranormal Investigator" embossed on his jacket, strains his ears among the decaying tombstones of Vienna's central cemetery, the last resting place of three million mortals from Beethoven to "Rock Me Amadeus" singer Falco.

ECJ puts brakes on deportation of Iraqi family
Photo: ORF

An Iraqi family threatened with deportation has been granted a brief reprieve after the European Court of Justice recommended they be allowed to stay in Austria for the time being.

Flats evacuated after man swallows explosive substance
A decontamination squad was ordered in. Photo: MA 68 Lichtbildstelle

A block of flats in Vienna had to be evacuated after a suicidal resident swallowed a highly toxic and explosive substance.

'Horror clown' threatens bus driver in Vienna's Donaustadt
Pennywise, the original scary clown from the movie It. Photo: Warner Bros

A man disguised as a ‘horror clown’ threatened a bus driver in Vienna’s Donaustadt district and vandalised the bus.

Man lived with body of murdered lover for weeks

A man has been arrested in Graz after police discovered the body of his girlfriend hidden in the shower cubicle of their rented apartment.

Austrian far-right leader brands Merkel 'dangerous'
Heinz-Christian Strache. Photo: Facebook/Personal

The head of Austria's far-right Freedom Party has branded Angela Merkel Europe's most dangerous politician.

12 brilliant German words you won't find in English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Five films which will change your mind about Austrian cinema
Those surprising Austrians!
100 years since the last emperor's death
Afghani family's new home in Austria
Der you learn Deutsch?
Delighted by the light
Beware these passport scams
Of course we skipped Oarsch
Foodies rejoice at the choice!
Travel & Tourism
10 years after her escape from captivity
Surviving the Brexit for British expats
Day 2 of the World Bodypainting Festival 2016
Is Islam hostile to Western society?
Bodypainting festival in southern Austria
Europe's ice cream capital
Best Austrian beauty spots
Travel & Tourism
Three days in Vienna as a tourist
How to make friends in Austria
jobs available