St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne
The hospital is a tertiary referral centre which offers a variety of medical, surgical and mental health specialities.
St Vincent's Hospital was opened in 1893 as a Catholic hospital owned and operated by the Sisters of Charity. Initially conceived as a branch of the Sydney institution of the same name the hospital was intended to be a charitable institution, which was hoped would help bolster Melbourne's minimal health care. This idea was given avid support by Melbourne's Catholic Archbishop, Dr Thomas Carr, who welcomed the idea of a hospital to take care of the 'poor and sick and abandoned children... the young girls of poor parents and servants...' These ideals corresponded directly with prevalent Victorian ideas of benevolence, which were particularly popular with the middle classes. In these early days, the hospital was quite small, with room for less than 100 beds. The hospital soon built up ties with the working class suburb of Fitzroy (in which the hospital was located), which had been deliberately selected by the founding sisters of the Hospital, with many of the poorer residents taking advantage of the advent of a charitable hospital opening up on their doorstep.
A new building was recently constructed behind the original building, which is now heritage-listed. The new hospital has been widely praised for its innovative design - for example, complementary medical and surgical specialties (such as neurology/neurosurgery) exist on opposite sides of the same ward, there are decentralised nurses' stations, and satellite pharmacies on every second floor stocking locally relevant medications.
The Clinical School
A clinical school was opened in St Vincent's Hospital in 1909 as part of the University of Melbourne. It is one of the clinical schools at the University of Melbourne (the others being based at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, the Austin Hospital, Western Hospital, the Northern Hospital, Epping, Goulburn Valley Health, Ballarat Base Hospital and Northeast Health).
St Vincent's Hospital is also a clinical school of the University of Notre Dame, Sydney. Third and fourth year students have placements in geriatrics, anaesthetics and ICU.
The hospital also offers a wide range of postgraduate training programs.
Clinical specialties and services offered
There are several medical and surgical wards at St Vincent's Hospital. There is also a psychiatric unit and an Emergency department.
Note: This is not an exhaustive list.
- Infectious diseases, Clinical microbiology
- Addiction medicine
- General medicine
- Plastic surgery
- Cardiothoracic surgery
- Orthopaedic surgery
- Colorectal surgery
- General surgery
- Gastrointestinal surgery
- ECATT team
St Vincent's Health operates a mental health ward and an Enhanced Crisis Assessment & Treatment Team & Triage Service (ECATT) that assesses patients in the Emergency Department and manages patients with acute psychiatric disorders who are a potential risk to themselves or others in the community.
- Rev T O'Farrell (letter) quoted in Egan, Brian Ways of a Hospital: St Vincent's in Melbourne 1890s-1990s St Leonards, Allen & Unwin, 1993. 8
- Egan Ways of a Hospital 11
- Croggon, Veryan 'One Ray of Sunshine: St Vincent's Hospital' in Reflections of Fitzroy Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2008. 34