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 Hospital E.D. Public Rally Stakes out a Mandate – also Community Resolutions

Save Bulli ED Group logo

Save Bulli ED Group


 Media release : 31 July 2012    Bulli ED 2012/#8

Well there’s no doubt that last Sunday’s Public Rally to Save Bulli Hospital Emergency Department has clearly staked out a public mandate for its continued existence.

“It was so inspiring to see so many people, even hundreds of people turn out to Save Bulli Hospital Emergency Department,” stated SaveBulliED Convenor Alison Fettell, “early on we had hoped to get even 50 people in winter – but to get over 500 was fantastic!”

In fact people had started to queue up over 30 minutes before the rally was due to kick off. Some brought their own signs and photographs to show what Bulli Hospital and its Emergency Department meant to them. And they came in wheelchairs, on walking frames, walking sticks, on motorized scooters and in prams. While many were elderly, there were young parents with their babies too. Many shared heartfelt stories during the rally of how their own lives, and their loved ones, had been saved by the dedicated and hardworking staff at Bulli Hospital ED.

Various speakers presented the case for the existence of a Public Hospital Emergency Department at Bulli. A key issue was the ISLHD’s Urgent Care Centre based on USA models which ISLHD head Professor Denis King presented at earlier public meetings. At this meeting, Professor King faced a largely hostile and unreceptive audience.

“Our Co-Convenor Caroline Colton had maps showing the almost toatla lack the community dumbstruck as she showed video footage of the USA Health System for the poor – in virtual ‘cattle pens’ at sport stadiums,” explained Ms Fettell, “not to mention her maps showing the almost total lack of after- hours health resources in the northern suburbs under an Urgent Care Centre model concept.”

The community knew that all too often the one rostered northern Ambulance is down in Wollongong and not actually in the North. So claims by Health bureaucrats of a 10 minute trip to Wollongong ED down the Northern Distributor was considered totally spurious and ingenous.

Four resolutions were put to the community – and the community added on another couple (see attached). But the key message from the Community was they wanted to see Bulli Emergency Department kept open 24 hours day, 365 days a year without charge.

Now the Community is set to take the fight to politicians at all levels of Government : Federal, State and Local. The 10,000 signature petition for Bulli Hospital, taken up by Keira MP Ryan Park, is due to be debated in the NSW Parliament on August 16 2012 (approximately 4pm).

“They will hear us Roar!” emphasized Ms Fettell, “And we will not be silenced.”


The community at the Save Bulli Hospital Emergency Department Rally (Save Bulli ED) held on 29th July 2012 resolved that:

1. The following model be endorsed as the community’s preferred model of care for the Bulli Emergency Department situated in Hospital Road Bulli:

2.  We demand that the model endorsed by the community in resolution one be adopted by the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District and that a dedicated recurrent budget be made available by current and future governments to sufficiently resource (including doctors and nurses) this model.

3.  A community-based board be re-established to oversee the running of Bulli Hospital and the Bulli Hospital Emergency Department

4.  The Consumer Advisory Committee for Bulli Hospital be reinvigorated and their terms of reference strengthened to allow for greater input into decisions made regarding service provision and patient care at Bulli Hospital.

5.  The Bulli District Hospital, including its Emergency Department, be refurbished or rebuilt whilst maintaining or upgrading all services.

6.  Everyone present at the Rally today commits to continued action by spreading the word via all avenues open to them regarding the need to keep Bulli Emergency Department open 24 x7, and to support further action to ensure all levels of government heed and respond favourably to the resolutions agreed on by the community today.


Media contacts:

Ms Alison Fettell, Convenor
Ms Kerrie Anne Christian, Co-convenor

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 Dept.pic.twitter.com/g8j9pMxK3 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 @barryofarrellpic.twitter.com/XwnqbBZm6 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 tomorrow.pic.twitter.com/emQqhbRb1 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 #nswpolpic.twitter.com/X9BHIy8s

willongong2:30pm via Twitter for BlackBerry®#Greens MLC @johnkgreens and Clr Jill Merrin at Save Bulli Hosp rally, huge crowd!#SaveBulliED yfrog.com/h6msxbzj
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 pic.twitter.com/oaCLyKbQ
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.

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,

The Devil is in the Detail – Residents Question Urgent Care Centre Model vs Emergency

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. … MORE


Media contacts:

Ms Alison Fettell, Convenor,

 Ms Kerrie Anne Christian, Co-convenor,