Something Everyone Can Do to Help Save Bulli ED

Help maintain the community position on keeping Bulli Hospital ED open as a 24/7  Level 2, Emergency Department as endorsed by the July 2012 rally attended by over 5,000 Illawarra residents.

 Please sign our new petition at to let the decision makers know the community hasn’t changed its mind and is not happy with a 7am – 10pm Urgent Emergency Care Centre providing GP equivalent services 

The petitions will go to Ms Jillian Skinner, NSW Health Minister and Professor Denis King, Chair of ISLHD Board NSW Ministry of Health and Ilawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District


“We’re trying again!” – residents to meet with senior health official in an effort to clarify plans for Bulli before community comments due

Save Bulli ED Group

Media release : 22 August 2012    Bulli ED 2012/#11

“We’re trying again!” – residents to meet with senior health official in an effort to clarify plans for Bulli before community comments due

Tomorrow, Save Bulli Hospital Emergency Department Group (Save Bulli ED Group) will meet senior health bureaucrat Michelle Noort to seek assurances on the future of Bulli Emergency Department. The Save Bulli ED Group hopes to find out enough detail to enable the community to respond to the draft Illawarra Shoalhaven Healthcare Services Plan for Bulli. Public comments on the plan are due by 31 August.

“We were extremely pleased to read in Prof Denis King’s letter to the Mercury that he was now committed to retaining emergency services at Bulli Hospital,” said Caroline Colton, co-convenor of Save Bulli ED group. “That’s a major breakthrough. Up until the day of the public rally to support the hospital, the health district was proposing an urgent care centre (UCC) at the Bulli ED site. It is a tribute to the Illawarra community that all references to a UCC have now been completely removed from the latest health plan.”

Community resistance to reducing emergency services in the Northern Illawarra has been strong and unrelenting. The community has rejected anything short of maintaining the current 24-hour, 7 days a week, Level 2 Emergency Department. Over 500 people braved the winter winds to attend a protest rally in late July, over 12,000 people signed a petition organised by Ryan Park and many residents from all over the Illawarra have written letters to local newspapers and members of parliament.

At a recent meeting with Prof Denis King and MP Lee Evans, Save Bulli ED were offered a further small concession on opening hours. Previously, the health district wanted to cut the present 24 hour service to 8 am to 8 pm, but the health district has now mooted a slight extension of 7 am to 10 pm.

“While it looks like the health district is giving a little ground, there are several unanswered questions,” Caroline said. “We need answers, so that the community can respond to this ‘Plan’:”

  1. We have heard on the grapevine that it won’t be called an ‘Emergency Department’. But if it is truly an emergency service, why wouldn’t it be called an ‘Emergency Department’? Is something less than the current Level 2 Emergency Department intended?
  2. What will the staffing be? Will it be both doctors and nurses? We need both to adequately staff Bulli Emergency Department!
  3. Has the community been heard on the issue of opening hours? We need 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Accidents can, and do, happen at any time!
  4. Where is the 2012 triage data for Bulli E.D.? Why has this been withheld?


Media contacts:         

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

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


Media Stories generated :

The Bulli Times : Battle for Bulli’s emergency department gains momentum

Full transcript of August 16 2012 NSW Parliament Hansard including Bulli Hospital

Fighting for Bulli Hospital Emergency Department at NSW Parliament House with Ryan Park MP for Keira

Full transcript of August 16 2012 NSW Parliamentary Hansard including Bulli Hospital upgrade debate in NSW Parliament Legislative Assembly :

Extract from Hansard covering Bulli Hospital Debate only :

Fighting for Bulli Hospital Emergency Department – outside NSW Parliament House with Dr John Kay – MLC – The Greens

Read who said what :

  • Ryan Park
  • Lee Evans
  • Noreen Hay
  • Gareth Ward
  • Andrew McDonald

Acknowledgement to Bevan Shields for providing link to Hansard to Save Bulli ED


Fighting for Bulli Hospital Emergency Department to be kept open 24 x 7 x 365 days / year

Event : Hospital 10,000 Signature Petition Debate – NSW Parliament – August 16 2012

Event Notification : Time to show support for Bulli Hospital ! Bring those placards along to NSW Parliament House to the Debate on the 10,000 signature petition on Bulli Hospital :

Where – at NSW Parliament Macquarie St Sydney

When – Thursday August 16 2012 at 3.30pm.

Local Supporters at Bulli Hospital – May 2012

Ryan Park, MP for Keira,  initiated the petition with NSW ALP Opposition Leader John Robertson in September 2011. By April 2012  10,000 signatures had been collected. The petition calls for support for upgrading Bulli Hospital as follows :

Bulli Hospital needs urgent upgrading to improve and expand services. Failure to improve these vital services will result in a reduced level of health care available to residents.

The undersigned petitioners ask that services at Bulli Hospital be upgraded and improved for the local community.

Save Bulli ED is encouraging Northern Suburbs residents to rally outside the NSW Parliament On august 16 2012 at 3.30pm – with placards of support for Bulli  hospital.

Prior to the Debate in the Parliament, it is hoped that Bulli Hospital supporters will be able to speak outside Parliament House with Lee Evans MP for Heathcote, Ryan Park MP for Keira, John Kay NSW  Greens MLC and Drew Simmons NSW State President Australian Democrats & Candidate for Heffron.

The Petition goes beyond the current campaign being waged to Save Bulli Hospital Emergency Department from being downgraded, by the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District Board, to an Urgent Care Centre open from 7am-10pm only.

Interview – Dr Jacky Davis shares UK experiences of attacks on public hospitals & NHS with Save Bulli ED supporters in Australia

Dr Jacky Davis, is a strong advocate of the UK NHS Public Health System which is currently under attack (see people’s comments). Save Bulli ED Co-convenor, Caroline Colton, interviewed Dr Davis as part of her presentation :  “I just can’t get my head around this” to the Save Bulli ED Public Rally on July 29 2012.

Dr Jacky Davis – passionately fighting for UK NHS public health system


1.  Jacky – what is going on in the health care system that citizens have very little awareness of?


All healthcare systems are under strain because of aging populations, bigger range of more costly treatments, increased expectations. We all face these problems, but combined with global financial difficulties, they are being used as an excuse to undermine traditional health care systems. Those systems that are publicly funded are particularly attractive to transnational corporations who want to get their hands on billions of public money . They see our systems as the pearl in the oyster if only they can prise it open. So publicly funded systems everywhere – UK, Canada, Australia – are being targetted by these companies. Politicians can’t do this up front as our health systems are popular with voters so they dress it up with words like patients choice, increased efficiency, as well as threats about the problems we face, saying we simply cant go on like this. In fact the biggest problem we face  is the onslaught by the private sector who are turning efficient and cost effective public services into fragmented and expensive private services with profits going to share holders instead of back into front line care


2. Is awareness growing through local people fighting for their district hospitals and Accident & Emergency Departments (A&E’s) in particular?


Politicians have been very careful about how they presented these developments to the public, dressed up as being better for patients,more efficient and  innovative and so on so naturally it has taken a while to understand what is being done in our name. In the UK private corporations like Virgin operate behind the logo of the our National health Service so patients dont even know their care is now being delivered by these transnationals. But when people see their local services under threat then they understand what they are about to to lose and these local campaigns are very important. And through local campaings people see the  bigger picture and thats how national campaigns begin


3. How does privatisation affect doctors?

We can only predict what will happen to doctors as the process is just getting underway here. As private companies take over the public service health workers including  doctorss are being seconded to these companies with loss, in the long term of their national T&Cs and pension schemes. At the same time core treatments, which have always been free, are being reduced and doctors are being set targets about how many patients they can refer to hospital, asked to reduce their consultation times and so on, in other words interference with their clinical judgements. We dont know yet whether we will end up like the US system where so much of doctors time is taken up with paper work and fighting for their patients right to have treatment.


4. In Australia, hospitals run by local autonous community boards have been put forward as an alternative model to hospitals managed by the health bueaucracy – what has happened to hospitals in England who have followed this model?


Hospitals in England have been forced to become autonomous Foundation trusts, whose only duty is to balance the books. Many are already in financial difficulties, crippled by the debts of PPP (Public Private Partnership) projects forced on them by politicians, These PPP contracts have proved a disaster, we pay 10 x the value of  what the public sector gets, and hospitals are simply crushed by their debts. Three have recently gone into receivership and we have no idea what will happen to the staff and patients. At the same time these hospitals now have to compete with each other which makes it very difficult to exercise the traditional cooperation which benefitted patients


5. What are the implications for national health planning and things like preventative medicine when corporations like SERCO takeover health services?


We’re very concerned about large contracts being awarded to companies like Serco and Virgin whose core business is winning government contracts. They then have to put together the package, perhaps with no previous experience. Weve seen community services including childrens services awarded to these companies, and they have little or no experience in these fields. And of course if they fail they will have to be bailed out just like the banks because you can’t let public services fail, they aren’t like mobile phone companies. It really is a case of privatise the profits and socialise the risks, we’re seeing it here already. As for joined up thinking about long term  planning and public health, that looks as though it will be another casualty. How can it be otherwise when the health service is now all about competition – you need collaboration not competition in order to plan for population health and that’s exactly what we won’t have now


6. What is your message for the people of the Illawarra? (in a brief statement)


My message from our campaign to yours is to fight locally but think nationally. Its really important to fight for local services, the people who make these decisions which destroy our public services get where they are via the ballot box and we can get rid of them in the same way. At the same time this is a national and international issue, we’re all facing this vandalism and privatisation of our public services and we need to work together.  We must alert the public to the threat, persuade people that we can fight this, its a political and ideological decision to privatise and outsource public serives.
I wish you the best of luck with your fight, we will win because we can’t afford to fail.

Caroline Colton Save Bulli ED Co Convenor : “I just can’t get my head around this” – featuring contributions from UK’s Dr Jacky Davis

Thanks to Dr Jacky Davis for sharing these thoughts with the supporters of Save Bulli Emergency Department

You can follow Dr Jacky Davis on Twitter for more information on threats to the UK NHS system – and see how it compares to our Australian experiences.

Fighting to Save Bulli Hospital Emergency Department

I just can’t get my head around this – Public Rally video on Vimeo – Caroline C

Caroline Colton’s presentation, to the Public Rally (July 29 2012), on threats to Bulli ED & privatisation fears : “I just can’t get my head around this!” (seen here on  Vimeo film)  – simply unforgettable & an amazingly insightful analysis.

Caroline, a Save BulliED Co-convenor,  showed the state of health facilities in the Northern Illawarra – as it is currently and with various scenarios

– daytime & after hours

– with Bulli Hospital Emergency Department open

– and with the ED replaced by an Urgent Care Centre operating only 8am-8pm

Save Bulli ED representatives had been advised by the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District that an Urgent Care Centre would be based around the USA model.

So Caroline set about investigating just what happens in the health system in the USA – from the impressive & huge Texas Health Centre to the Mash style set-ups in sports stadiums.  At that point of her presentation, the audience were left open-mouthed, almost in disbelief  at what they saw on a video clip of the USA’s RAM (Remote Area Medical) system for the economically disadvantaged. This is a voluntary effort, in cities such as Los Angeles, which was almost overwhelmed by the thousands that turned up.

Caroline also shared how the USA spends more % per capita on health than any other nation, including Australia and yet its health outcomes are no better, in fact even worse than some OECD countries, in terms of life expectancy (see comments on US Health Issues including Public-Private Debate).

After listening to this comprehensive review – the question you have to ask :

Why follow a USA model for Urgent Care Centres when it is widely recognised,  across the political spectrum in the USA, that their health system is failing ?

A brilliant presentation which opened our eyes.

We also just can’t get our heads around it either, Caroline !

Also see news clip of the rally on Facebook: at  SCLC’s  page – and rally photos on Facebook.

Also from Caroline – some YouTube clips of the USA RAM – Remote Area Medical programs operating in US sports stadiums :

Save Bulli Emergency Dept July 29 2012 Rally – Live Comments

SaveBulliED5:37pm via HootSuite

Local Health Board Chief Prof Denis King braved hostile crowd to explain Board’s position- but 600 angry people not happy with what he offer

SaveBulliED5:35pm via HootSuitePublic Rally stories – incl 12 yr old cut artery & ambos couldn’t get to him & told his mum take him to Bulli ED otherwise would have died
SaveBulliED5:33pm via HootSuite@shaun_prince @MelissaJaros local health board advocate US style model replace Bulli ED-but news clip of health care for US poor shocked allShow Conversation
SaveBulliED5:31pm via HootSuite@MelissaJaros @shaun_prince at one stage there were up to 200 people outside listening via loud speakers at #SaveBulliED rallyShow Conversation
SaveBulliED5:31pm via HootSuite@shaun_prince @MelissaJaros we believe up to 600 attend #SaveBulliED rally – in wheelchairs, walking frames, walking sticks, babies in pramsShow Conversation
nickpmclaren4:20pm via Twitter for iPhoneNew resolution: build a new hospital across the road while old hospital is maintained. Adopted. #SaveBulliED
nickpmclaren4:18pm via Twitter for iPhone@shaun_prince calls for a completely new hospital. Not supported by the meeting#SaveBulliED cites eg of Manly.
nickpmclaren4:16pm via Twitter for iPhone3. Community based board reestablished#SaveBulliED
nickpmclaren4:15pm via Twitter for iPhoneResolutions 1. Community model endorsed as priority #SaveBulliED
nickpmclaren4:12pm via Twitter for iPhoneMC: Why aren’t the public servants taking note of what the people want? #SaveBulliED1 retweets
nickpmclaren4:10pm via Twitter for iPhoneProf King told the group wants to save the ED (wild applause) #SaveBulliED the rest of the hospital is not the issue.
nickpmclaren4:07pm via Twitter for iPhoneProf King: medicine has changed, some services ie cardiac can only be offered in one place, so no time for assessment at Bulli#SaveBulliED
nickpmclaren4:05pm via Twitter for iPhoneProfKing: public sector services will not be contracted to private sector; Bulli EdD will remain ‘free’ #SaveBulliED
nickpmclaren4:04pm via Twitter for iPhoneProf king: I don’t know anyone who thinks the Dapto Private Hospital project will go ahead#SaveBulliED
nickpmclaren4:02pm via Twitter for iPhoneProf Denis King: “the illawarra & Shoalhaven have been under funded” #SaveBulliED
nickpmclaren4:00pm via Twitter for iPhoneThe land the Bulli Hospital stands on was donated by local family #SaveBulliED
nickpmclaren3:58pm via Twitter for iPhone“without Bulli Hospital both myself and partner probably wouldn’t be here today” resident. #SaveBulliED
nickpmclaren3:56pm via Twitter for iPhoneWe are yet to hear from Prof Dennis King yet#SaveBulliED
nickpmclaren3:54pm via Twitter for iPhoneEx Kiama Mp Bob Harrison currently speaking #SaveBulliED
johnkgreens3:53pm via Twitter for iPhoneHeart rending stories about the importance of 24×7 ED at Bulli. Shame no Coalition MP hear to listen.4 retweets
NewzStringer3:52pm via Web@MelissaJaros how is all going???? sounds like a lot of people turned upShow Conversation
nickpmclaren3:51pm via Twitter for iPhoneHalf the people here it seems we’re born at Bulli Hospital #SaveBulliED
nickpmclaren3:49pm via Twitter for iPhoneEx policeman telling stories of saving people’s lives #SaveBulliED
johnkgreens3:47pm via Twitter for iPhoneNorthern Illawarra community deserves 24×7 PUBLIC emergency retweets
nickpmclaren3:44pm via Twitter for iPhoneAlice Scott talks about her (failed) campaign to save the Port Kembla ED #SaveBulliED
johnkgreens3:44pm via Twitter for iPhoneAt Bulli huge meeting to save Emergency Dept 500+ angry citizens sending powerful message to retweets
nickpmclaren3:40pm via Twitter for iPhoneKaye: I want to come back in 2 months when the winter of our discontent is over.#SaveBulliED
nickpmclaren3:38pm via Twitter for iPhoneKaye: nothing scares politicians more than a big crowd of angry people #SaveBulliED
nickpmclaren3:37pm via Twitter for iPhone3rd commitment is to expose urgent care centre model as stalking horse for privatization #SaveBulliED #nswgreens
nickpmclaren3:35pm via Twitter for iPhoneGreens say funds need to be made available to fund medical staff #SaveBulliED
nickpmclaren3:34pm via Twitter for iPhoneJohn Kaye from Greens says health care must stay in public hands. Greens will fight for level 2 emergency dept #SaveBulliED
nickpmclaren3:32pm via Twitter for iPhoneThis is a slick presentation, it includes video from the USA & interview from UK#SaveBulliED
MelissaJaros3:30pm via Twitter for iPhone#SaveBulliED says 601 private beds under construction. Claims #BulliED is in competition with private facilities.1 retweets

nickpmclaren3:29pm via Twitter for iPhone630 Private hospital beds currently under construction in the Illawarra #SaveBulliED
nickpmclaren3:26pm via Twitter for iPhone32 km of coastline would have no services for pregnant women & babies after 8pm#SaveBulliED
cocococo103:19pm via Web@gordonbradbery Hundreds of locals at Save Bulli ED – they are wondering where you are, tweeting asking this question.1 retweets
nickpmclaren3:16pm via Twitter for iPhoneLife expectancy in the US 74 compared to 82 in Australia #SaveBulliED
nickpmclaren3:15pm via Twitter for iPhoneUrgent care centers in the US have not reduced waiting times #SaveBulliED
nickpmclaren3:13pm via Twitter for iPhoneUrgent care centre model was developed in the USA, where most are privately run, speaker says #SaveBulliED
MelissaJaros3:12pm via Twitter for iPhone@shaun_prince @SaveBulliED yep I think you might be right. At least another 100 outsideShow Conversation
nickpmclaren3:11pm via Twitter for iPhoneNo bulk billing available from GPs in northern suburbs, despite recently receiving $1 million from fed govt #SaveBulliED #auspol
nickpmclaren3:10pm via Twitter for iPhoneBulli the only emergency dept in northern Illawarra for 20,000 people and the only health service operating after hours#SaveBulliED
nickpmclaren3:01pm via Twitter for iPhone@SteelyGreen thanks all the Drs & nurses in attendance & reads out letter from Frankie j Holden who helped save Pambula Hosp.#SaveBulliED
nickpmclaren2:57pm via Twitter for iPhoneRorris: “it is an act of barbarism to close this”#SaveBulliED
nickpmclaren2:55pm via Twitter for iPhoneBulli HospitalED had 7098 attendances in 2011 #SaveBulliED
nickpmclaren2:53pm via Twitter for iPhoneRorris says don’t listen to the experts when they tell you it can’t be done #SaveBulliED
nickpmclaren2:52pm via Twitter for iPhoneArthur Rorris says society has its priorities wrong when community built hospital like Bulli can’t be maintained #SaveBulliED
MelissaJaros2:43pm via Camera on iOSMore than 300ppl at @SaveBulliED rally! All the details #WINNews 6.30pm retweets
nickpmclaren2:43pm via Twitter for iPhone“now is the winter of our discontent” Alison Fettell #SaveBulliED
nickpmclaren2:42pm via Twitter for iPhone#SaveBulliED group wants ambulances to return to Bulli. Part of their own alternative model.
nickpmclaren2:33pm via Twitter for iPhoneFmr councillor & former Bulli resident Trevor Mott MCing. #SaveBulliED
shaun_prince2:31pm via Twitter for Android@nickpmclaren at least 500 locals here + 3 WCC councilors & A Rorris attendance1 retweetsShow Conversation
emilyalaurence2:31pm via Photos on iOSmy son’s first rally #savebullihospital a good cause to start with! #wollongong

willongong2:30pm via Twitter for BlackBerry®#Greens MLC @johnkgreens and Clr Jill Merrin at Save Bulli Hosp rally, huge crowd!#SaveBulliED
nickpmclaren2:29pm via Twitter for iPhoneI have also spotted a number of #wollongongcouncillors #SaveBulliED
nickpmclaren2:27pm via Twitter for iPhoneInterested to see if any pollies turn up. So far have only spotted @shaun_prince#SaveBulliED
nickpmclaren2:24pm via Camera on iOSAt the #SaveBulliED community meeting. 300 inside, 200 more outside. Packed.#wollongong #bulli
willongong2:22pm via Twitter for BlackBerry®Massive turnout to Save Bulli hospital rally, hall totally packed, hundreds outside!#SaveBulliED
shaun_prince1:48pm via Twitter for AndroidVgood crowd building at Save Bulli ED rally.

Hospital Emergency Depts Private vs Public – Caroline Colton is on the Case

Save Bulli ED’s CoConvenor Caroline Colton, a Woonona resident, has been researching  facts on health systems for months now.

So Caroline’s been checking out details on what’s happening to Hospital Emergency Departments  – public and private – in Australia and overseas – to see what it might mean for Bulli.

The Facts on Urgent Care Centres ? What are they ? Are Private UCC’s and Public UCC’s the same ? Do they really replace Emergency Depts? What are their Opening Hours? Do they treat babies – under one year olds, under two year olds ?  Do they treat Pregnant Mums? What are their Charges? Upfront on the day – $100, $200 $300 ?

And there’s more … ? Surfing, Shops, Equity High Finance Deals, Private Hospital & Takeovers : what might these have to do with Bulli Hospital Emergency Department ?

Find out from Woonona’s Caroline Colton at the Public Rally on Sunday July 29 2012 at Bulli Masonic Hall – 2pm.

And as we’ve said before -we are not alone in facing attacks on Bulli Hospital Emergency – eg Mullumbimby up north is also fighting for its facilities and down south at Pambula.

And it’s quite a story to be honest … yet a story we need to wrap our heads around – so we can really take the fight to Save Bulli ED to the NSW Government & Illawarra Shoalhaven Health Board.