Save Bulli ED Group
Media release : For immediate release – 22 May 2012 Bulli ED 2012/#2
Residents today demanded more details of a proposed Bulli urgent care centre model, placing several controversial “questions on notice” on the table for Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD) public forum on Thursday.
“What is an Urgent Care Centre? What are we actually being asked to comment on?” asked Alison Fettell, Convenor of the Save Bulli Hospital Emergency Department Group (Save Bulli ED Group). “In Victoria and South Australia Urgent Care Centres are largely privately-run, do not bulk bill and charge for extras such as Xrays, scans or even prescriptions. Is this what is being suggested for the Illawarra?”
The ISLHD proposal is to downgrade Bulli Hospital Emergency Department from a Level 2 E.D. operating 24 hours a day to an urgent care centre operating for limited hours only. The downgrading of services, and loss of services overnight, has raised concerns among residents, and was overwhelmingly rejected by the community at an ISLHD consultation in March.
“I thank the ISLHD for suggesting we put some questions on notice, because we have serious concerns about this model,” said Alison Fettell.
The Bulli ED Group has tabled the following questions for Thursday’s forum:
1. Given that many urgent care centres in Victoria and South Australia are private practices which do not bulk bill and can charge people hundreds of dollars per visit, we feel that before residents can adequately respond to the urgent care centre suggestion they need to know what is the model actually proposed for Bulli – is it to be hospital run with no charge to patients; privately run within the hospital; privately run from private premises; or some other model entirely; and whatever model is used, will patients be charged?
2. The community is still confused as to the status of decision-making: the assurance at the March consultation that no decision had yet been made on whether Bulli Emergency Department was to become an Urgent Care Centre, repeated in ISLHD’s recent statements quoted on WINTV news last week, contradicts ISLHD’s own documents that imply the decision has already been made: can you please clarify urgently so that the community is clear on the current stage of decision-making?
(1) Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (2011), p 21: Vision: Our Statement of Strategic Intent, p 21: “Redefining of the role of Bulli Hospital as the hub of aged care services in the Illawarra and reconfiguration of its Emergency Departments to become an Urgent Care Centre as part of an Integrated Primary and Community Health Centre.”
(2) Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, Better Faster Emergency Care, p 6: “The Wollongong Hospital, the northern hub, will be developed into a tertiary teaching and referral centre. The role of Bulli Hospital will be redefined as a hub of aged care services and its Emergency Department will be reconfigured to become an Urgent Care Centre as part of an Integrated Primary and Community Health Centre.”
3. Insofar as there is a proposal or a decision on the table to turn the Emergency Department into an Urgent Care Centre, what is the definition of an Urgent Care Centre and where is this published?
Ms Alison Fettell, Convenor,
Ms Kerrie Anne Christian, Co-convenor,