Northern Illawarra stripped of life saving services

Save Bulli ED Group

Media release : 31 October 2012    Bulli ED 2012/#18

Northern Illawarra stripped of life saving services


Residents of the Illawarra are being put at risk by the decision to close Bulli ED and replace it with a 7am to 10 pm GP type practice, says Alison Fettell from the Save Bulli ED Group.


What the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD) Board has done, on the advice of the CEO Susan Browbank, is to remove a life saving essential service that we have had for decades. It is the only overnight emergency service available to the community of the Northern Illawarra. This service has been saving lives on a daily basis for years and should be upgraded. But now, based on manipulated data, the ISLHD Board has decided to strip us of our life saving overnight safety net, says Alison.


The ISLHD are trying to convince the community that providing a GP style service, NOT an emergency department at Bulli Hospital will be no different to what is being provided now. If this was not so dangerous it would be comical, says Alison. How can you say on the one hand that the service will now only treat GP like cases and will now only be open for 15 hours not 24 and at the same time say that “the service provided will remain at the current level”? Sounds like spin to me, says Alison.


The Save Bulli ED Group rejects the decision to close the ED on the grounds that; the decision WILL put lives at risk; will mean no emergency service available for the community after 10pm; and that the community has not only been put at risk, but they have been ignored. We also reject any changes to service delivery at Bulli that may mean job losses for medical and nursing staff that have served the community well, saved lives, and worked tirelessly to keep this service running over the years.


The Save Bulli ED Group put the Board on notice that the community will hold them responsible for any adverse health outcomes due to this nonsensical decision.


The community are being patronised, patted on the head and being told to just go away by the health service, the bureaucracy and the politicians, Alison said. Well we won’t go away, this is about community safety, and in fact we call on all interested individuals and groups such as the Miners Federation, NSW Nurses Association, P&C’s, Seniors Groups etc to raise their  combined voices in rejecting the latest plan for the Bulli Hospital Emergency Department.


Media contacts:     

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


Emergency access by 70,000 residents hangs in the balance – Local Health Board meets Monday to discuss future of Bulli E.D.

Save Bulli ED Group

Media release : 5 October 2012    Bulli ED 2012/#17

Emergency access by 70,000 residents hangs in the balance – Local Health Board meets Monday to discuss future of Bulli E.D.

The Monday 8 October meeting of the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD) will discuss the future of Bulli Hospital Emergency Department.

The Save Bulli Emergency Department group (Save Bulli ED Group) has submitted a detailed report to the Board ahead of this critical meeting, arguing the case for the Bulli Emergency Department to stay open.

“There are many, many reasons why the community needs this E.D. There are over 70,000 residents in the Northern Illawarra alone who need this service. And of concern to EVERYONE in the Illawarra is the pressure on Wollongong Emergency Department. We think more services are needed in the Illawarra, not less, and a real difference could be made if ambulances were allowed to take suitable patients to Bulli,” Alison said.

“We met with the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District several times in the last few weeks and we think we’ve made some ground on the provision of services overnight,” said Alison. “But the community is also committed to keeping Bulli open as a real, functioning Emergency Department. They want to change it to something else – but this community WANTS TO KEEP THEIR E.D.”

An Emergency Department is highly regulated part of the NSW Health hospital network, with an assured level of services, defined protocols including triage, which is needed in emergency situations, and statistical collection. The community is committed to ensuring that Bulli stays an Emergency Department. We have an E.D. at Bulli now. Why should residents of the Illawarra lose another E.D. service when Wollongong E.D. is at breaking point?

“The community is very strong on keeping the E.D. and very much against renaming the service. Because we know very well that it’s not just about the name. It’s about the lack of accountability in these alternative models. As soon as you rename it, it drops off the E.D. network and there’s no assurance about what has to happen there – it will make life easier for ISLHD but it won’t provide the regulated E.D. type services that the community requires and expects,” said Alison.

“We’ve given them data, population figures, travel times, lots of reasons to support the community on this issue. We just have to hope and trust now that the Board looks at the submission and talks this through,” she said. “We offered to do a presentation, we’re totally dedicated to doing everything we can.”

Attachments: Bulli E.D. Group submission to ISLHD.


Media contacts:     

Ms Alison Fettell, Convenor, ph 0412 011 052
Ms Caroline Colton, Co-convenor, ph 0419 609 173

Hon Tanya Plibersek praises Bulli Hospital Emergency Department

Save Bulli ED Group

Media release : 28 September 2012    Bulli ED 2012/#16

Hon Tanya Plibersek praises Bulli Hospital Emergency Department

Save Bulli Hospital Emergency Department Group (Save Bulli ED Group) has recently received a letter from the Hon Tanya Plibersek regarding Bulli Hospital Emergency Department.

The Save Bulli ED group wrote to the Tanya Plibersek, Federal Minister for Health, and Sharon Bird, the local federal MP, seeking ongoing funding for Bulli Hospital Emergency Department. “We are trying our best to assist the local health district to secure appropriate funding to maintain and upgrade the Bulli Emergency Department,” said Alison Fettell, Convenor of the Save Bulli ED group.

Tanya Plibersek’s response includes a handwritten note saying:

“PS I had to visit Bulli Hospital myself with Anna as a toddler when we were on holidays down your way. They did a terrific job!”

Alison said Ms Plibersek’s response about the ‘terrific’ care provided at Bulli ED just adds further support to the community’s call not to downgrade the Emergency Department at Bulli.

“Bulli ED is an essential part of the Illawarra emergency services, taking the pressure off Wollongong and offering a shorter wait time when residents have less serious conditions. Proper utilisation of Bulli ED will take pressure off hospitals across the Illawarra,” said Alison. “The emergency doctors and nurses at Bulli are great with kids and they handle a range of unexpected but less complex health crises for Illawarra residents and their families, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”

Ms Plibersek’s response, sent back to the group via Ms Sharon Bird, includes the statement that ‘hospital service planning remains the responsibility of the NSW Government’. The NSW Government has devolved the planning powers to the Local Health Districts, and that is why the Bulli ED group has provided the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD) with a detailed submission in response to their Draft Health Care Services Plan. “The ISLHD Board is meeting on 8 October and the Save Bulli ED group has offered to be part of formal discussions once the Board has had the opportunity to consider our submission,” said Alison.

Attachments: Letters from Sharon Bird and Tanya Plibersek; submission to ISLHD .


Media contacts:     

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