SCENIC Rim MP Jon Krause has accused the state government of blocking two NSW-based doctors from working at Beaudesert Hospital while allowing hundreds of Victorians into Queensland as part of AFL grand final arrangements.
In a question on notice in Parliament, he asked Health Minister Steven Miles to provide assurances that Beaudesert Hospital maternity services would not suffer as a result of border restrictions applied to two doctors.
"In 2014, the LNP government restored maternity services to Beaudesert Hospital after they were cut by the former Labor government," he said.
"Will the minister please advise why the government's health directives now see the Beaudesert district deprived of the service of two rural generalist doctors (specialising in obstetrics) that ordinarily reside in northern New South Wales, while hundreds are allowed into Queensland as part of the AFL Grand Final process, and what assurance can the minister provide that maternity and other services at Beaudesert Hospital have not been and will not be affected as a result of this exclusion?"
Mr Krause said people would be more likely to contract coronavirus in Brisbane, Logan, Ipswich or the Gold Coast than in northern New South Wales.
Queensland Health confirmed that one doctor had been granted an exemption to work at the hospital.
It is understood that border regulations require anyone coming into Queensland to quarantine after entering from a COVID-19 hotspot. Essential service workers who are not Queensland residents can only remain in Queensland for the time necessary to complete the essential activity and that includes those responsible for providing critical health support services to Queensland.
Outside Parliament, a Queensland Health spokesperson defended the restrictions.
"Our border restrictions are in place for one purpose - to save lives," the spokesperson said.
"We know locum doctors provide critical support to many hospitals across the state, but the ongoing safety and wellbeing of all our patients and the wider community is also paramount.
"Still, there are provisions in place that allow those performing an essential activity, which includes those responsible for providing critical health support services, to enter Queensland."