​“For our people only”: Words come back to haunt QLD premier after baby dies

A mother from NSW is mourning the loss of her unborn baby after she was refused entry to Queensland hospitals to receive an emergency surgery.

The grave loss comes just one week after the QLD premier announced the state’s medical services were for “our people only.”

The mother lived just 30km from the Queensland border in Ballina.

She was forced to fly to Sydney to receive crucial treatment for her unborn twins after she was denied an emergency exception to seek treatment in Brisbane.

The Prime Minister says the case is “very distressing” and has called for compassion on the borders.

Allan Watt, the father of the woman, told The Courier Mail that his daughter had to wait 16 hours before she could get a care flight to Sydney.

She then had to wait another “six or seven” hours before the emergency surgery.

“They found out yesterday and went for a scan and the baby was deceased,” Mr Watt said.

“I’m not blaming the Health System in Queensland, the same thing could’ve happened if they could’ve gone to the Brisbane Hospital with what’s happened to them now, but the fact is it could have made a difference.”

The upsetting news follows more than a week after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was criticised for saying Queensland hospitals were “for our people only” after a question about the NSW woman being refused entry to Brisbane.

“People living in NSW, they have NSW hospitals. In Queensland we have Queensland hospitals for our people,” she said.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard called Ms Palaszczuk’s comments “astonishing”.

This morning, Ms Palaszczuk said the death of a baby was a tragedy.

However she denied that Queensland was blocking urgent interstate medical cases to be treated in the state’s hospitals.

“I think we’re very very compassionate in this state and … if there is someone that needs emergency care, if they need a helicopter to fly them to one of our hospitals, that will happen,” she said.

“If they need an ambulance to come and the clinicians decide the best place and the fastest place they go, they will not be stopped from going.”

The premier says she doesn't regret her comment that Queensland hospitals were for Queenslanders.

“These are really difficult decisions,” she said.

She said patients should be treated in hospitals local to them.

She went on to say that patients would be treated in Queensland if it was an absolute emergency or if Queensland had the required expertise.

“But we are living through a global pandemic at the moment,” she said.

Ms Palaszczuk said she did not want to talk about a specific case and decisions were made by clinicians.

“This is an absolute tragedy, about this young baby,” she said.

“I mean there’s a woman who’s grieving at the moment and many people know what that feels like.

“So if the clinicians make that urgent decision about where a young person needs to go, that will be made in the best interests of that young person.”

Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said Queensland provides emergency services to northern NSW and “that has never changed”.

“I believe that I am a compassionate person.”

Mr Morrison said the events are “terribly distressing” and has urged for their to be flexibility and compassion on the borders.

“This is terribly distressing. It’s heartbreaking,” he said.

“And there needs to be an explanation as to how these, these hard border arrangements, can lead to people not getting access to this care as it seems to be the case here.

“I don’t know all the facts here and it’s important that they’re all known and I don’t want to get ahead of that process. But as I’ll be making a comment here today, I understand why there can be recommendations about having border restrictions under a COVID pandemic.

“But at the same time, they would need to be an extraordinary explanation in relation to how someone wouldn’t be able to get medical treatment in these circumstances. So there does need to be an explanation here.

“And again, these restrictions need to be put in place with compassion, with common sense and understanding all the risks, not just the COVID risks that present.”

This article originally appeared on Over60.