Meeting with health officials – shifting sands, and no answers to key questions

Save Bulli ED Group

Media release : 23 August 2012    Bulli ED 2012/#12

Meeting with health officials – shifting sands, and no answers to key questions

Members of Save Bulli Hospital Emergency Department Group (Save Bulli ED Group) met today with health officials from the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD).

Save Bulli ED Group asked searching questions about the future of Bulli Hospital Emergency, but very few answers were forthcoming.

Recently, in the face of massive public opposition, the health district had dropped the “Urgent Care Centre” proposal for Bulli Emergency Department. The latest draft health service plan had no mention of this term.

The community had hoped this meant a shift in thinking. “We had all really hoped that the health district had changed its mind. Based on their letter to the Mercury on 15 August, we thought plans to downgrade Bulli Emergency Department had been replaced by a commitment to retain the service at its current standing of a Level 2 Emergency Department in the NSW Health network, albeit at reduced hours,” said Caroline Colton, co-convenor of Save Bulli ED Group.

“But we found it was just a change of name. They still want to downgrade it. It’s so very disappointing,” said Caroline.

The only shift by the ISLHD was to rename their proposed model.  Michelle Noort from the ISLHD said at the meeting, “The community has made it clear they won’t accept the term ‘Urgent Care Centre’ …. so we are now calling it ‘Emergency Primary Health Care’.”

“The health district was still unable to explain how this plan would impact on the community,” said Caroline. “There was no detail. We asked if both doctors and nurses would be present. We asked what kind of treatment would be available. But they couldn’t tell us. So with a submission due on 31 August, we will just have to respond in a very broad way as there has been no detail given at all.”

“As a community group we had hoped to take the details of what is planned, for example what level of service will operate at Bulli, back to our community,” said Caroline. “But we don’t know any more than before.”

On the positive side, further statistical data on ED presentations was provided by the ISHLD to the Save Bulli ED Group who will now work on analysing that data and prepare submissions on behalf of the community.

“We are preparing a submission on the Illawarra Shoalhaven Healthcare Services Plan by 31 August. We have also been invited to submit directly to the ISHLD Board by mid September,” said Caroline. “We do appreciate these opportunities to put forward the community perspective and will argue to retain the E.D. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”

Denise Farrier of Austinmer agreed. “At the end of the day we need to maintain the Emergency Department we already have and plan for its upgrade to meet the needs of our kids and their kids,” she said. Denise is one of many to join the fight since the Save Bulli ED Rally on 29 July.


Media contacts:     

Ms Caroline Colton, Co-convenor
Ms Alison Fettell, Convenor

Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District’s Healthcare Services Plan 2012-2022 can be found at


Media Stories generated :

Illawarra News : Save Bulli ED Meets with Health Officials – still no answers to key questions

ABC Radio Illawarra : Bulli Hospital talks continue

The Bulli Times : A rose by another name ? The Battle for Bulli ED continues


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