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May 14, 2021

Problems at the border for hospital staff and patients

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Both the Health Services Union (HSU) and a Tweed Shire Councillor are urging the New South Wales and the Queensland governments to make border crossing easier for hospital staff.

The HSU says the  Queensland Government must ensure efficient border crossings for all health and hospital workers by setting up dedicated checkpoints and deeming the entire health workforce as essential workers.

The hasty border closure announced by the Queensland Government has caused huge delays in getting to work for all manner of hospital workers, including paramedics, warsdpeople, security officers and allied health professionals.

HSU Secretary, Gerard Hayes said the Queensland Government had to avoid the mistakes of the last border closure.

‘At the moment, our members are waiting hours at border checkpoints just to do their job or get home to their family at night. This is unacceptable and unworkable.

‘Having overlooked the broader hospital workforce previously, we sincerely hope the Queensland Government deems all hospital workers essential this time around.

Essential workers

‘Paramedics, wardspeople, security, cleaning and allied health are absolutely critical to the proper running of a hospital. This needs to be recognised by the Queensland Government.’

Tweed Shire Councillor James Owen says he has written to Gladys Berejiklian and Annastacia Palaszczuk to request better access to Tweed Heads Hospital .

‘I write in relation to the difficulties being experienced regarding access to and from the Tweed Heads Hospital resulting from traffic gridlock due to the re-establishment of NSW/QLD border checkpoints,’ said Cr Owen in his letter.

‘I am writing to request that the NSW and QLD State Governments work together to implement, as a matter of urgency, a priority dedicated access, to and from, the Tweed Heads Hospital for patients, staff, people seeking treatment, and emergency service vehicles.

‘The Tweed Heads Hospital serves residents of both NSW and QLD who reside in our border community. If border checkpoints are going to be in place long term, a solution to alleviate these issues, and to ensure the safety, health, and wellbeing of the community, must be prioritised.

Gerard Hayes said the union is prepared to be reasonable and accept that these are trying and difficult circumstances. ‘However, this shouldn’t be too hard to get right.’


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