Four newborn babies in Adelaide have died after being denied life-saving heart surgery because it wasn’t available locally and the stage-four lockdown in Victoria meant they couldn’t be transferred to Melbourne for surgery.

Covid-19 travel restrictions meant that interstate transfers for the sick babies who needed life-saving cardiac surgery wasn’t possible. The surgery was not available in Adelaide, which is the only capital city in mainland Australia which doesn’t provide onsite cardiac treatment for infants.

9 News Australia reported that a leading Obstetrician told politicians:  “I shall leave it to you to imagine the profound effect of these deaths on the parents”.

The revelations have shocked Australia, and a group called the Women’s and Children’s Hospital Alliance, have told the Select Committee on Health Services that urgent action was required and that the deaths could have been prevented if the right cardiac treatment had been available.

“How many more deaths of babies and young children will staff be forced to endure before the Minister for Health [Stephen Wade] cuts across this unnecessary procrastination?” he said.