MILDURA Base Hospital has assured New South Wales residents that the impending State border closure will not be an impediment to important medical and health care.

Today is the last day that people can travel freely between New South Wales and Victoria, with border crossings between the two states closing at midnight in an effort to contain the current COVID-19 outbreak in Victoria.

A permit system is currently being developed, and Mildura Base Hospital Director of Nursing Janet Hicks said NSW residents should continue to seek treatment in Victoria if necessary.

“People should definitely still come to Mildura Base Hospital if they require medical care,” Ms Hicks said.

“As an interim measure, a letter advising that the travel is essential will be provided to NSW residents by their treating medical officer to allow re-entry into NSW until a permit can be obtained from the Government,” she said.

“People should definitely not be fearful or concerned about coming across the border if they need medical attention, or have essential in-person medical appointments which cannot be done over the phone or via telehealth.”

Mildura Base Hospital Director of Intensive Care Dr Alison Walker said some patients had raised some concerns already, but their priority needed to be important medical care.

“We are not any different from any other organisation in the border regions, in that we know that there are issues to be worked through,” Dr Walker said.

“We are the local hospital and health service for many NSW residents and like every other major organisation in this community, we have staff and service providers who live on the New South Wales side of the region,” she said.

“But processes are being worked through and police have assured publicly they will take a sensible but pragmatic approach to the border enforcement.

“We’ve got no doubt that essential health workers will be catered for, and where NSW residents have a medical officer’s letter, essential medical appointments will continue to be permitted.

“While we are working through     the changes, though, it’s important to keep an eye on the priority issue – that is ensuring that we are doing the right things in terms of our own community readiness if COVID-19 cases do emerge in our local area.”

Dr Walker said MBH would continue to provide updates, but community members should monitor the services NSW website for the latest information and procedures.