Albury-Wodonga doctors have offered clear and constructive suggestions on how to fix problems caused by the border crossing restrictions, a North East politician says.
Member for Northern Victoria Tania Maxwell said she would send their open letter to the Victorian Minister for Health and the Victorian cross-border commissioner with her full support in the hope that changes would be made for health services right across northern Victoria.
They also requested NSW health care workers entering Victoria for critical work be exempted from the need to self-isolate and patients who have been treated in Melbourne to be able to enter NSW for urgent care without the requirement to self-isolate.
The doctors warned of "the very real threat of an entirely preventable tragedy if patients cannot receive timely and appropriate emergency medical care due to border delays".
Signatories to the letter are medical oncologist Craig Underhill, paediatrician Mark Norden, urologist Jonathan Lewin, emergency intensivist David Clancy, anaesthetist Barbara Robertson, physician Franz Eversheim, respiratory and sleep James Robertson, surgeon John Stuchbery and gynaecologist and obstetrician Simon Craig.
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The NSW and Victorian governments have been contacted for comment.
Ms Maxwell said it was untenable for specialists to be put in a position that compromised their ability to deliver quality and essential care.
"Specialists cross this border multiple times a day to deliver critical care to very sick patients and every minute counts," she said.
"A dedicated emergency lane for specialists and their staff, ambulance and patient transport would go a long way to reducing the current risk to patient care.
"Local clinicians are best placed to say what isn't working and they need to be listened to.
"We are already seeing the effects of the permit system not providing flexibility for health care workers and if this goes on for weeks, or even months, people will further delay treatment and more lives will be at risk."
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