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Campaign to save Bulli Hospital ED steps up a notch

Allan Atkins, co convenor of the Save Bulli ED Group at a recent protest meeting over down grading services at Bulli.

Allan Atkins, co convenor of the Save Bulli ED Group at a recent protest meeting over down grading services at Bulli.

COMMUNITY resistance to reducing emergency services in the Northern Illawarra is stronger than ever and unrelenting, says co convenor of the Save Bulli ED Group Allan Atkins.

The Save Bulli ED group is now supporting the local arm of the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association who are also determined to fight for the return of continuous 24 hour emergency care in the Northern Illawarra.

“Medical and nursing staff have been providing excellent emergency care for all age groups at Bulli for decades, and it’s clear that they want to continue to do that”, Mr Atkins said.

Discussion between the Save Bulli ED Group and a local nursing representative has revealed that there had been no dialogue between management and union representatives or nursing staff until recently in relation to the changes in service delivery at Bulli ED, and that according to clause 6 of the relevant award it is impossible for the proposed changes to commence until an agreement is reached between all parties.

Save Bulli ED Group’s Alison Fettell said according to a source, doctors and nurses will still be available at Bulli ED 24/7 but they are going to be directed not to provide the service after 10pm.

“This is just sheer bastardry, If the doctors and nurses are there, let them do what they have been trained to do and provide essential emergency care to the community and visitors to the area,” she said.

The same source informed the group that when management were asked to provide staff with a copy of the new model of care proposed, the request was denied.

The Save Bulli ED Group has also made the same request since March and has received the same reply.

“The only conclusion I can come to, is that they just don’t have a model developed,” Ms Fettell said.

It is the groups understanding also, though information from a number of sources are contradictory, that the Emergency Department at Bulli will still be operating as normal 24/7 over this Xmas New Year period.

“I think the ISLHD really need to get their act together – no one knows what is actually available now”  “This is more dangerous than ever and the lack of correct information is counter to what has been promised,” Ms Fettell said.

The Save Bulli ED Group is also in communication with local miners groups.

“It is our understanding that they also have real concerns about the changes to operating hours at Bulli ED,” Ms Fettell said.

“We are going to broaden our net and make contact with as many groups as possible that have similar concerns about the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health Districts decision to reduce emergency health services to the community of the Northern Illawarra.

“This issue is not going away, if anything it will escalate until the 24/7 emergency service is reinstated,” she said.

About Mick Roberts

A newspaper journalist, writer and local historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of pubs, inns and associated industries in the Sydney and Illawarra regions of NSW for over 30 years. He is currently working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides authoring a number of history books, Mick has owned and operated several community newspapers. He was one time editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), Sydney based, City News, and is now with Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW.

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