Mum’s anguish after daughter denied 'urgent' care because of sudden border rule

·4-min read

A mum in northern NSW, whose daughter is suffering from painful symptoms of a brain disorder, says her daughter’s medical care is being compromised because of a sudden new Covid rule at the Queensland Children’s Hospital.

The woman, who wants to remain anonymous, told Yahoo News Australia she was preparing to take her eight-year-old across the border for an “urgent” first appointment at a pain clinic when she received a call alerting her that NSW residents would now require a negative Covid test.

After being tested, she said was “shocked” to discover her daughter’s specialist visit, which they had waited five months for, was now cancelled at the last-minute because the results wouldn’t come back in time.

“It's truly disgusting. There should be a grace period. It wasn't needed last week, why should we miss our appointments tomorrow because of this new directive,” she said.

A young girl with symptoms of a brain disorder being treated in hospital. Source: Supplied
A young girl with symptoms of a brain disorder is being forced to wait for medical care in Brisbane because of a controversial new Covid test directive for NSW residents. Source: Supplied

“[I'm] so shocked this morning at the lack of notice from the hospital. I don't think it's fair at all she has to wait an additional two months for medical care with this requirement sprung on us within 24 hours of her appointment time.

“And a requirement we would have happily fulfilled in order for her to receive the care she desperately needs.”

Pandemic delays daughter's diagnosis 

She said her daughter has lived in constant, unexplained pain for two years and the pandemic continues to hamper their search for answers.

“The closest Paediatric Neurologist in NSW is Newcastle therefore we are critically reliant on Queensland Children's Hospital for her care,” she explained.

But because they’re from NSW, she said they’re treated like “foreign objects” by staff at Queensland Children’s hospital.

A young girl with symptoms of a brain disorder stands outside Queensland Children's Hospital wearing a mask. Source: Supplied
After being on a wait-list for five months, her vital appointment with a pain specialist was postponed because her test results wouldn't be back in time. Source: Supplied

“We have struggled several times with border issues, each time we need to be there it's never easy.

“We have needed to apply for medical exemptions in the past for critical care to be nearly turned around at the border crossing.”

She said the changing of Covid rules makes an already stressful situation “so much harder”.

“When your focus should be on your ill daughter, you are distracted trying to investigate and comply with the latest rules.”

Border residents slam directive 

Taking to Facebook to vent her frustrations in a private group, the woman warned other parents to be prepared for the new directive.

“Another basic human right removed,” commented one person.

Another said: “OMG every time I think this can’t get more ridiculous or inhumane, it does.”

Some defended the hospital for “looking after its patients” while others offered hope, suggesting results come back quickly.

A photo of Queensland Children's Hospital. Source: Children's Health Queensland
Residents in northern NSW rely on Queensland Children's Hospital for care with the closest Paediatric Neurologist in NSW in Newcastle. Source: Children's Health Queensland

Hospital explains Covid measures 

A spokesperson for Children’s Health Queensland (CHQ) confirmed to Yahoo News children and parents and carers travelling from the non-restricted areas of the NSW border zone to the Queensland Children’s Hospital for an outpatient appointment have been requested to have an approved PCR test prior to arrival. 

"A negative test result means they can enter the hospital without the need for additional visitor restrictions to minimise the risk of infection," a statement from the hospital said.

However, the hospital says there is still a way for parents and carers to attend their appointment even if they are unable to provide a negative result. 

"But [they] will be required to wear additional PPE, be escorted into and around the hospital, and be kept in isolation in line with current COVID-19 infection control measures," it said.

"This information is being communicated to patients travelling from the non-restricted NSW border zone in advance of their appointment." 

The mother however says this was not articulated clearly to her.

Queensland's reopening continues

It comes as Queensland announced its home quarantine offering for vaccinated, Covid-negative arrivals from interstate hotspots early. 

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the new application system will be online from 5pm on Monday, earlier than the November 19 date initially planned after the state hit more than 70 per cent of its residents fully vaccinated.

Mr Palaszczuk said the December 17 date predicted for 80 per cent, which will see the end to quarantine for domestic arrivals, could also come sooner. 

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