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


KPMG & Deloittes recommend 100’s bed to be cut in South Australian Public Hospitals

We are not alone in fighting cutbacks at Bulli Hospital Emergency Department !

Consultants KPMG & Deloittes have recommended 100’s bed to be cut in South Australia

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 :

Bulli Hospital data shows E.D saves lives, casts doubt on ISLHD claims

Save Bulli ED Group logo

Save Bulli ED Group

 Media release : 26 July 2012    Bulli ED 2012/#7

Bulli Hospital data shows E.D saves lives, casts doubt on ISLHD claims

 Data published by the Bureau of Health Information (BHI) shows unequivocally that the Bulli Hospital Emergency Department is a life-saving facility and not a mere “urgent care centre” as claimed by Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD).

The Save Bulli Hospital Emergency Department Group (Save Bulli ED Group) have cited 2011 BHI data to prove that Bulli Emergency Department does indeed treat serious and life-threatening cases, despite claims by health bureaucrats that it does not. This will be one of the issues discussed at the Save Bulli Hospital Emergency Department Public Meeting to be held 2 pm this Sunday, 29 July at the Bulli Masonic Hall, 286 Princes Highway.

“Basically, health bureaucrats use the argument that Bulli doesn’t treat serious or life-critical cases as a way to justify their cost-cutting plan to close the Emergency Department at Bulli and replace it with a so-called ‘urgent care centre’, said Alison Fettell, Save Bulli ED convenor…. MORE


Media contacts:         Ms Alison Fettell, Convenor, ph 0412 011 052

Ms Kerrie Anne Christian, Co-convenor, ph 0408 115 099

More Questions than Answers – Residents Challenge Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health on Bulli

Save Bulli ED Group

 Media release : For immediate release – 24 May 2012    Bulli ED 2012/#3

Residents went head-to-head with health administrators today over the future of Bulli Hospital.  At the public forum organised by Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD), residents again and again asked for clarification on the future of the Bulli Hospital Emergency Department.

Under pressure of questioning from the floor, the Director of Operations, Michelle Noort, finally admitted that the Bulli Emergency Department was already downgraded to an urgent care centre in the minds of local health bureaucrats. The only question in the minds of ISLHD was what model of urgent care centre would be implemented…. MORE

Michelle Noort promised that any urgent care centre would be free to the public.

“We acknowledge that assurance, but we still believe a fully functioning Bulli Hospital Emergency Department, operating 24 hours a day, 365 days a year is essential to this area,” said Alison. “We have been offered a meeting with ISLHD next week, and we will take that opportunity to ask some more questions.”



Media contacts:

Ms Alison Fettell, Convenor,

Ms Kerrie Anne Christian, Co-convenor,

Save BulliED Reps to attend Public Forum on Illawarra Shoalhaven Health Care – May 24 2012


In their fight to save Bulli Hospital Emergency Department, Save Bulli ED Group Representatives are taking up the opportunity to attend a Public Forum on Illawarra Shoalhaven Health Care on Wednesday May 24 2012. The forum is being arranged by NSW Health ISLHD and will be held at the Wollongong Pioneer Hall.To find out more info go to our  Save BulliED Facebook Page.

We’ll be posting more information over the next few days.