Cheryl Lambert refused entry to NSW under compassionate permit to care for mother

Wodonga woman Cheryl Lambert had her compassionate permit application denied on Thursday after waiting more than a week for news. Photo: Mark Jesser
Wodonga woman Cheryl Lambert had her compassionate permit application denied on Thursday after waiting more than a week for news. Photo: Mark Jesser

An elderly woman has been left to fend for herself after her Wodonga daughter was refused entry to NSW to care for her.

And Cheryl Lambert has been told all compassionate permit applications are being refused as the entire state of Victoria is now considered a "high risk area".

Ms Lambert had to wait eight days before hearing the "disappointing" outcome of the permit application for her and her husband to go and care for her terminally ill 85-year-old mother in Wollongong.

"There is absolutely no compassion involved in this whole system," she said.

"Why even have the permit available if you are just going to refuse all applications after more than a week waiting."

So why does my mum get punished for something that is happening in Melbourne?

Cheryl Lambert

Ms Lambert was meant to cross the border on August 2, in time to meet her mother Yvonne coming out of hospital after a shoulder reconstruction.

"We had all the right things in place and mum was only discharged under the impression we would be there to care for her 24/7," she said.

"It is just ridiculous. What if she died and we had to get to a funeral?

"Mum has terminal cancer and can't use her dominant arm now after this surgery - she has resorted to having devon sandwiches for dinner because that is all she can manage.

"She can't cook, she can't clean. I was meant to be there to help her.

"She now has a carer come three times a week to shower her and do the washing but that is it."

Ms Lambert said the frustration stemmed from being just a few kilometres from NSW.

"If I lived in Albury there wouldn't have been a problem," she said.

FRUSTRATION: Wodonga woman Cheryl Lambert was refused a compassionate permit to enter NSW to look after her sick mother leaving the 85-year-old woman to look after herself. Picture: MARK JESSER

FRUSTRATION: Wodonga woman Cheryl Lambert was refused a compassionate permit to enter NSW to look after her sick mother leaving the 85-year-old woman to look after herself. Picture: MARK JESSER

"We would be there caring for her now and we could stay as long as we want. We haven't been to Melbourne or anywhere that are considered hotspots.

"So why does my mum get punished for something that is happening in Melbourne? "It is really just not fair on mum.

"This is all because we have a Victoria postcode and we are considered high risk. Why even have the permit option?"

The Service NSW website lists "compassionate grounds" as a reason to obtain a border permit, but Ms Lambert said the people looking at each case "have no compassion".

"They aren't thinking logically about this, I live in a border town and yet I can't get across to care for my mother because apparently I live in a high risk area," she said.

The website lists the compassionate grounds permit as something that applies under "exceptional circumstances".

"A family member is in palliative care and close to end of life," the website says.

"You will need to apply to NSW Health for a compassionate permit exemption code before applying for your border entry permit.

"All cases are reviewed by a medical team for eligibility."

NSW Health didn't respond to questions put to them about this case by The Border Mail, nor did they respond to any questions about how many compassionate permits had been issued since the border closure.

"I was told you have to wait the mandatory seven days before someone will even look at it your compassionate permit application," Ms Lambert said.

"How does that work if you do have to attend a funeral. You will simply miss it because it is sitting on someones desk somewhere in Sydney.

"I just want other people to be aware that this is the process you have to go through and it is simply not worth your time or effort."

Ms Lambert said they toyed with the idea of bringing her mother down to stay with them in Wodonga.

"But we will have the same issue when she needs to go back home." she said. "And she has follow up appointments with all her medical team up there.

"She will just have to make do with what she has.

"My concern is that she will have a fall, which is how she hurt her shoulder in the first place and then who knows how long she will lay there in pain before someone finds her."

This story 'Absolutely no compassion': Border permit to care for dying mum refused first appeared on The Border Mail.