Health care for certain surgical and medical teams

Last updated: 
24 January 2020

Information on the measure that will see additional health support for Australian civilian surgical and medical teams who worked in Vietnam from 1964-1972.

What is the measure?

The Australian Government will provide additional health support for members of Australian civilian surgical and medical teams who were contracted by the then Department of External Affairs to provide medical aid to civilian hospitals and training to local staff under a South-East Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) civilian aid program in South Vietnam between October 1964 and December 1972.

The measure recognises that while the medical teams were not under the direct command and control of the Australian Defence Force during the Vietnam War, they were exposed to hazards and dangers as a result of working in a conflict zone for the Australian Government. The measure also acknowledges that the medical teams provided invaluable aid to Vietnamese civilians, often in difficult and traumatic circumstances.

Why is this important?

This measure will ensure former members of these teams are able to gain access to treatment for all injuries or illnesses, not just those that may have arisen as a result of their employment in Vietnam.

Treatment will be delivered through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold Card. Services available through this card include general practitioners, psychiatrists, psychologists, medication, public or private hospital treatment and counselling.

Who will this benefit?

Australian members of the civilian surgical and medical teams (SEATO medical teams) who worked in Vietnam between 1964 and 1972. About 240 doctors and 210 nurses were employed as part of the surgical and medical teams.

How do I apply and when does this come in to effect?

This measure will commence on 1 July 2019. The application form can be found on the DVA website.

Once completed, please send the form with relevant supporting evidence to:

SEATO Surgical Medical Team Members
GPO Box 9998
Brisbane, QLD, 4001

Supporting evidence for your application could include your contract with the Department of External Affairs, photos and letters from the time, letters of commendation, evidence of the issuing of the Australian Active Service Medal and/or Vietnam Logistics Service Medal by Defence for their role in SEATO or statutory declarations from other team members attesting to your involvement.