Queensland nurses stranded in NSW

Two Queensland nurses who travelled to New South Wales to assist frontline health workers amid staff shortages due to the COVID-19 crisis say they’ve been abandoned and are unable to get home to their families.

Christine Barkle from Townsville and Michelle Thomas from the Sunshine Coast left their families to help cover aged care staff who had been forced into isolation after coming into contact with a positive COVID-19 case.

Both women’s contracts have now ended but they have not been able to come home to their families and previous jobs in Queensland.

READ MORE: One new COVID-19 case in Queensland ahead of mass vaccination weekend

© 9News Christine Barkle from Townsville and Michelle Thomas from the Sunshine Coast left their families to help cover aged care staff who had been forced into isolation after coming into contact with a positive COVID-19 case.

They say they have not received a response from Queensland Health despite having letters from the federal government and their employer requesting they be allowed to return to Queensland to complete home isolation or hotel quarantine.

9News has contacted Queensland Health for comment.

Both Ms Barkle and Ms Thomas have been nurses for more than 20 years.

“We came, we did the right thing, we wanted to help out,” Ms Barkle said.

“You’ve got football wives there that obviously they’re more important than an essential worker returning home to work.”

READ MORE: Exemptions granted for interstate nurses stranded in NSW after helping to fight COVID-19 outbreak

© 9News Both women’s contracts have now ended but they have not been able to come home to their families and previous jobs in Queensland.

Both women agree that other nurses will be discouraged from travelling to help other states if they can’t be guaranteed an exemption to return home when they’re done.

“(We) feel like we’re lost, we’re just in limbo and it’s quite stressful,” Ms Thomas said.

“If (other nurses) see this they’re really going to think twice because of the unknown… they can’t plan.”

9News has contacted Queensland Health for comment.

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