The healthcare on Nauru is “just as shit” as some towns in regional Australia where aboriginals live, Tony Abbott has said.

The former prime minister made the comments to 2GB on Monday in an interview warning voters not to toss out Liberal MPs in favour of independents who want to “treat asylum seekers like human beings”.

Abbott said refugees and asylum seekers “are being looked after to a satisfactory level on Nauru”.

“Health services on Nauru for boat people are about the same as the health services for a lot of aboriginal towns here in Australia,” he said.

“Nauru is not the only hellhole by any means, I’ve been there, and I’ve also been to a lot of hellholes around regional Australia as well.”

“If you like living in hellholes, it’s a very, very pleasant hellhole.”

Abbott says the actual living conditions and future aspirations of refugees are irrelevant, “just as long as there is some medical staff around”.

“They have terrific doctors and surgeons on the island – his name is Frank, I’ve met him.”

No media or even elected representatives critical of the Nauru policy can travel to the island.

“You just have to trust us,” says Abbott.

Image: AAP