Hundreds gathered at a Border health rally on Sunday morning with patients taking centre stage to air their grievances about the "constipated" system and offering praise and sympathy for struggling staff working within it.
The crowd at Gateway Lakes roared with approval when Albury man Brad George, who suffers from constant heart problems, outlined his experiences at the base hospital and pleaded with politicians in the audience to listen and relay the health crisis back to Canberra.
"It's a constipated system, it really is - I know this because I've been there, I've seen it," Mr George told the crowd.
"We've all got loved ones, we all need better and this needs to change now.
"And all you pollies, don't show up for your Instagram moment and post it on Instagram, saying 'look at me, I was at the rally' - you take it back to Canberra and you make sure they hear it.
"We've had a lot of rhetoric ... they're saying there's money there, well where is it? We haven't seen it as residents of Albury-Wodonga.
"They might be good listeners but nothing is getting done."
Nurse Kim Cole said "every day nurses are going home broken" and echoed the call for better conditions and for the establishment of a single site hospital to serve both Albury and Wodonga communities.
"I love being a nurse, I love caring for people - every day we struggle to deliver that level of health care," Ms Cole said.
"And it's not because of nurses or of access to resources like doctors, it's because we struggle in the sites that we're working in
"A new single site hospital is the only way to achieve this - I don't care if it's in Albury and I don't care if it's in Wodonga - we are one community, we need to stand together.
Rally convener Di Thomas, of lobby group Better Border Health, urged participants to sign a petition to the federal House of Representatives asking for the government to work with the two state governments and make a federal financial commitment towards the planning, design and construction of a new single site public hospital for all of Albury-Wodonga.
"When you go away from here, encourage your family and friends who couldn't be here today to look out for the opportunities to sign the petition in Albury and Wodonga within the next few weeks," Ms Thomas said.
"We're also hopeful to send the petitions out to our regional neighbours in North East Victoria and southern NSW.
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"The petition will be collated and presented to the new federal parliament following its first sitting later this year.
"We hope to work with our federal representatives to table this in the House of Representatives.
"And if we decide to take a busload of supporters to Canberra, as we did in 2010, we hope you might consider joining us to lobby our new health minister.
"We're going to develop online petitions for the NSW and Victorian parliaments - whichever you come from - please sign these, both the federal one and the state one."
Federal Independent Member for Indi Helen Haines said there had never been a greater need for cooperation from all sides.
"This is the only health service in Australia that services both states - it brings in populations from all over the region," Dr Haines said.
"Think about cardiac care, think about stroke care - they have to get flown to Melbourne, now that is ridiculous and it's dangerous and it's gone on too long and it needs to be fixed."
Liberal candidate for Indi Ross Lyman said the rally was "moving" and "reinforced everything I've heard".
"Albury Wodonga Health is at breaking point," Mr Lyman said. "We know that a new single site hospital is a huge project that will take the cooperation of all levels of government.
"We need to bring people together to get this built - I am very eager to make it happen now."
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