The NSW-Victoria border was hit with tougher restrictions implemented on Tuesday night.(ABC Goulburn Murray: Ashlee Aldridge)ShareFacebookTwitterArticle share optionsShare this onFacebookTwitterLinkedInSend this byEmailMessengerCopy linkWhatsAppPrint contentPrint with images and other mediaPrint text onlyPrintCancelDoctors are warning border restrictions will inevitably result in someone dying, with several near misses this week.Key points:Border restrictions have been in place for two weeks, but were toughened on Tuesday nightThere is no emergency lane, leading to delays for ambulances and medical staffEmergency surgery, ICU, and paediatric services are based in Albury on the NSW side of the borderIn an open letter provided to the NSW Government today, senior doctors from the border region said there was a distinct lack of regard for vital border health services."Here in Albury Wodonga we are also facing the very real threat of an entirely preventable tragedy if patients cannot receive timely and appropriate emergency medical care due to border delays," the letter said.In one example, a child known to the paediatric unit with congenital anomalies and special needs was choking on the side of the road while waiting in the border queue.A doctor in the queue saw the mother and child in distress and went to assist, but it took another 30 minutes before they could pass through and get to emergency.'Patients' lives at risk'Oncologist Craig Underhill is one of the doctors behind the letter and said ambulances and hospital transport vehicles have been forced to go to the back of the queue and wait for up to an hour. Craig Underhill says the border closure is putting lives at risk.(ABC Mildura Swan Hill: Jennifer Douglas)The doctors are calling for an emergency lane to be put in place urgently."Our emergency surgery, ICU, and paediatric services are based in Albury. There are no practical alternative services nearby in Victoria," Dr Underhill said."With delays in peak times of up to an hour, patients' lives are at risk."Dr Underhill said the region was resilient but border communities were suffering."We had the drought, I had patients who walked off farms, we had the bushfires, we had people lose their houses. We had people coming from evacuation centres to have doses of chemotherapy," he said. "Now we have a large number of health services severely impacted. So this is like putting a sword through the heart of these communities."Find more local newsTell us your location and find more local ABC News and informationNSW Health acknowledges difficulties Ambulances on the NSW-Victorian border have been forced to the back of the queue and had to wait for up to an hour.(ABC News: Margaret Burin)The ABC understands representatives from NSW did not show up to a meeting called yesterday between health services and the two state governments.The doctors are also calling for exemptions for health workers, with medical staff who live in NSW but work in Victorian hospitals being forced to stay home.North East Health Wangaratta is facing its third day in a row without 80 of its frontline medical staff.NSW Health told the ABC that meetings late this week between the two governments and their agencies were aimed at "protocols and mechanisms to facilitate health care workers crossing the border."Find more rural newsSee the latest news and information from the agriculture and mining industries, including weather and the markets, on ABC Rural.Carers unable to crossCarers of terminally ill loved ones are also being caught up in the chaos, with one Victorian woman fearing her mother will die before she can get a permit to get into New South Wales to continue to help look after her.Katie Donaldson lives on the Victorian side of the border and cares for her mother in NSW who has a terminal illness. Katie Donaldson's mother has a terminal illness, but because they live on different sides of the NSW-Victoria border she can't care for her.(Supplied)A week after she applied for a permit to cross the border she finally got a call from NSW Health."They called me asking if my Mum was going to die in the next two weeks, that was their question," Ms Donaldson said."You can imagine how stressful that was for me to hear, that while I am trying to care for my mum asking if she going to die in the next two weeks."Ms Donaldson said NSW Health later sent police to her parents' home to check that her mother was in fact terminally ill."I'm so worried my mum will die and I won't be there. That's just terrifying to me."Loading...
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