An Albury woman who had her surgery in Wagga postponed indefinitely following the border closure says she feels discriminated against because of her postcode.
Radiographer Rebecca Gooden was due to have ankle surgery at Wagga's Calvary Hospital yesterday after struggling for 12 months with the after-effects of an injury.
Ms Gooden said the date of her operation had been confirmed with a call from her surgeon's rooms on July 7, the day before the NSW-Victoria border closed to stem the spread of coronavirus.
Three days later the rooms called again to tell Ms Gooden she would have to wait until the border reopened to have her surgery.
"Their reasoning was because of the border closures ... they were not willing to operate on me due to my location," she said.
Ms Gooden, who has three young children, said she informed the hospital she had been self-isolating for two weeks to prepare for surgery and was willing to have a COVID-19 test before making the trip to Wagga.
"I was instructed that no, due to the admitting protocols of the hospital, they weren't willing to do that," she said.
Ms Gooden said she had already organised to have three months off work to recover from the surgery, a procedure she couldn't have done in Albury.
"I was pretty upset with the whole process. I understand that we're in a pandemic [but] it's really sort of turned things on its head," she said.
A Calvary spokesperson said its Wagga hospital had introduced a more stringent admissions policy following the border shutdown.
"Where patients have travelled to Victoria or Albury Local Government Area, we have requested that the admitting doctor review on a case-by-case basis the urgency of patient procedures and consider postponing the procedure if non-urgent at this time of heightened risk," the spokesperson said.
Murrumbidgee Local Health District chief executive Jill Ludford said Wagga Base Hospital continued to take patients from Albury, but she couldn't comment on the privately-run Calvary Hospital.
"We really need to make sure that these border issues and the Victorian outbreak does not interfere with how we transfer and care for patients," she said.
"We accept public patients from Albury absolutely for general surgery. I can't speak for the private sector, that's a separate entity."
Ms Gooden questioned the transparency of Calvary's new admissions policy.
"You have doctors that come down from Sydney ... what's the difference between someone who's come from Sydney to someone who's come from Albury?" she said.
"I support the border closure but I feel that it's a very open-ended thing."