Member for Farrer Sussan Ley has defended the federal government's handling of the pandemic, after Member for Indi Helen Haines said the Commonwealth had squandered the opportunity to properly prepare for the latest outbreak.
Dr Haines said regional health systems were under pressure, businesses were struggling and people had been left without support.
She criticised "the lack of preparation and sudden shifts in policy by the federal government" saying it had left the public "confused and distressed; and put extra strain on health services".
Dr Haines said she had spoken to the local Public Health Unit, the Primary Health Network, GPs, pharmacists and hospitals
"I am so angry to hear how they have been let down by the government," Dr Haines said.
"Weary front-line health staff are learning of policy changes at the same time as the public. GP practices have told me that their phones rang off the hook after the Prime Minister announced that we should contact our GP if we test positive on a rapid test."
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Dr Haines said a small local health service was forced to temporarily close its acute and urgent care service last week because staff were isolating and no surge workforce was available.
Ms Ley defended the federal government's approach, saying it was the responsibility of state government to prepare health services for outbreaks.
"I stand very strongly behind the Commonwealth government's overall response to COVID-19 and our support for all Australians during the pandemic," she said.
"While the Commonwealth provided significant extra funding, it was and remains the responsibility of NSW and Victorian governments, through their local health services, to prepare and plan for COVID outbreaks."
Ms Ley said policy changes were a natural part of a pandemic.
"As circumstances have changed, advice has had to change but people understand that during a global pandemic, a flexible response is required," she said.
Albury-Wodonga Health chief operating officer Emma Poland said plans were in place to ensure the service could continue to provide high quality healthcare, even through COVID outbreaks.
"As a consequence of the current Omicron outbreak, our COVID-19 testing and vaccination facilities have been experiencing increased demand, however it has been reassuring to see that at this stage hospitalisation numbers remain low and manageable," she said.
Ms Poland said it was expected that significant numbers of positive COVID cases will continue for several weeks.
She said the community could support the health service by getting vaccinated, staying home if unwell and familiarising themselves with isolation and testing requirements.
"We will continue to evaluate and manage resourcing needs, however taking these simple steps will help put us in the best position to cope with demand moving forward," she said.
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