Home' Tennant and District Times : 20180810 TDT Contents TENNANT AND DISTRICT TIMES FRIDAY 10 AUGUST 2018 3
DEPARTMENT OF THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL AND JUSTICE
Expressions of Interest
Community Benefit Committee
Expressions of Interest are sought from Territory residents for
appointment to the Community Benefit Committee
The Committee is made up of community and government
representatives to provide recommendations to the
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice on specific grant
programs offered by the Community Benefit Fund program.
Appointments to the Committee are for a maximum of three
Resumes and Expressions of Interest, including personal and
professional experience and any areas of relevant interest to
the Committee should be submitted to the Secretariat by:
Email: email@example.com or
Post: GPO Box 1154, Darwin, NT 0801
Submissions close 31 August 2018.
For further information email or phone Secretariat on
1300 650 153.
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AGONISING TRIP: Gary documented the long drive to Alice Springs to
take his mother Ursula to visit a surgeon in Alice Springs. Refused flights
three times by PATS, every bump in the road caused his mum immense
pain. Pictured left is one of the many rest stops for food, rest and medica-
tion. Above, preparing for the trip with a mattress and blankets to soften the
impact on her legs. Below, once they arrived home Ursula couldn’t stand
and Gary couldn’t pick her up. An ambulance was called to lift her.
after horror road trip
AN elderly woman was hos-
pitalised for six weeks after
travelling to Alice Springs by
car for a specialist consulta-
Ursula Sullivan, 78, had been re-
fused transport on the Royal Flying
Doctor Service (RFDS) plane by a
clerk at the Tennant Creek Hospital.
When she returned to Tennant
Creek, after a 1,000 kilometre round
trip during which she and her son
had to camp by the roadside, she
was unable to stand as she got out
of the car.
Gary Sullivan said he couldn’t
move his mother and he had to lower
her to the ground where she stayed
until ambulance officers came to
“The ambos moved her inside and
I let her rest for about five hours,
thinking that she would be better,”
“But she was unable to move and
so the ambulance had to be called to
take her to hospital.
“She remained in hospital for six
Gary explained that Ursula has
lymphatic disease and during the
arduous trip to Alice Springs, her
legs became very swollen and sore.
“Basically, the lymphatic fluid
wasn’t draining from her legs,”
“I knew exactly what would hap-
pen and I knew she would suffer
great pain which is why I asked
the Patient Assisted Travel Scheme
(PATS) clerk to arrange for her to
travel to Alice Springs on the RFDS.
“I was told that PATS would only
pay for bus fares or reimburse fuel
“That was never going to be
good enough. I explained that she
wouldn’t be able to climb up on to a
bus because she can’t walk without
a mobility aid.”
Gary said Ursula had to see a
vascular specialist in Alice Springs
and couldn’t avoid the appointment.
“It was like watching a nightmare
unfold,” he said.
“It was obvious that travelling by
road to Alice Springs was going to
“What’s worse is that my mother
spent about 40 years working at Ten-
nant Creek Hospital as a domestic.
“For the first 20 years, she was
doing heavy duty cleaning jobs,
such as polishing the linoleum floors
every day with wax.
“The bad thing was they made
them lift the wax polishing buckets
which weighed more than 20 kilo-
grams, around the wards.
“She wore her back and her knees
down, and had to have two knee
replacements. She also developed
Gary said after four decades of
dedicated service to the hospital,
his mother was treated appallingly.
“I am disgusted,” he said.
“My mother’s eligibility for an
RFDS transfer was basically as-
sessed by a clerk who asked if she
was she sick.
“I replied that she wasn’t sick but
would become sick if she had to
travel to Alice Springs and back
“If this is how our community’s
seniors are treated then there is no
“My mother deserved way more
To add insult to injury, Gary said
he had received a $360 bill from St
“We can’t actually afford to pay
this and we shouldn’t have to,” he
“I’d like to see the Tennant Creek
Hospital do the right thing and pay
the invoice,” he said.
“It’s the least they can do after all
the grief, pain and suffering they
have caused my mother.”
A spokesperson for the Department
of Health said there were specific
guidelines for the PATS.
By CAITLIN McMAHON
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