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June 18, 2021

Tweed Hospital will not close

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Tweed Hospital. Source: Hospitalstays.com.au

Wayne Jones, Chief Executive of the Northern NSW Local Health District, said today that the Tweed Hospital will not close if harsher border restrictions are enforced by the Queensland Government.

In a statement he said that the NNSWLHD, NSW Health, and the NSW Government are working tirelessly with the Queensland Government and Queensland Health to overcome unprecedented challenges.

‘We are implementing workforce contingency plans to ensure we continue to provide high-quality care at the Tweed Hospital,’ said Mr Jones.

‘The current restrictions imposed by Queensland requires the Northern NSW Local Health District to review services, including non-urgent elective surgery, to ensure we have appropriate levels of clinical staff to manage urgent and emergency presentations. All efforts are being made to minimise any impacts on service delivery.

‘The NNSWLHD is also negotiating with clinical and non-clinical staff to understand which staff, who live in Queensland but work in NSW, are able to continue to provide their services if alternate accommodation arrangements are made.’

Mr Jones said all efforts are being made to limit the impact of border closures on NNSWLHD hospitals.

He also noted that more than twenty per cent of patients attending the Tweed Hospital Emergency Department are Queensland residents, and these patients will be required to attend Queensland-based hospitals for care.

Doctors concerned

Police stop cars at Queensland border. Photo Jeff Dawson.

In an interview with the ABC last night, specialist doctors expressed fears that the Tweed Hospital would be forced to close due to a hard border closure.

Dr Mike Lindley-Jones, Intensive Care Specialist at Tweed Hospital (who is also the Chair of the Medical Staff Council) told the ABC that such a closure would have a detrimental effect on the healthcare of patients.

‘It would be absolutely catastrophic, the hospital wouldn’t be able to function,’ said Dr Lindley-Jones. ‘My guess is the majority of the hospital would close because large numbers of staff live north of the border. Seven operating theatres, the emergency department, the obstetrics all of those services would struggle to keep going.’

Dr Lindley Jones said he’s hopeful that discussions with the state government would result in appropriate exemptions being given to health care workers in the event of a hard border closure.

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