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Austin Hospital

Coordinates: 37°45′23″S 145°03′30″E / 37.7564°S 145.0584°E / -37.7564; 145.0584
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Austin Hospital
Austin Health
Austin & Mercy Hospital complex
LocationMelbourne, Victoria, Australia
Coordinates37°45′23″S 145°03′30″E / 37.7564°S 145.0584°E / -37.7564; 145.0584
Care systemPublic Medicare (AU)
Emergency departmentYes
ListsHospitals in Australia

The Austin Hospital is a public teaching hospital in Melbourne's north-eastern suburb of Heidelberg, and is administered by Austin Health, along with the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital and the Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre.


The Austin Hospital was founded in 1882 as a charitable institution for incurables by Elizabeth Austin, the widow of Thomas Austin. It had several name changes before becoming the Austin Hospital.[2]

War and post-war[edit]

During World War II, two military hospitals were located at the site — the 115th Australian General Hospital, operated by the Australian Army, between 13 March 1941 and 19 May 1947, and the 6th RAAF Hospital, operated by the Royal Australian Air Force, between 1942 and 1947.[citation needed]

The Australian Army handed over the military hospital to the Repatriation Commission on 19 May 1947, and the hospital then became known as the Repatriation General Hospital Heidelberg. The Repatriation Commission (Department of Veterans' Affairs) operated the hospital until 31 December 1994. In the decade leading up to transfer of the hospital to the state hospital system the name was modified to Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital.[citation needed]

State Government operation[edit]

The Austin Hospital was transferred into the Victorian health system on 1 January 1995, with Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital and Austin Hospital amalgamating on 1 April 1995 to become the Austin & Repatriation Medical Centre - "Victoria’s largest tertiary referral centre providing a broad range of patient services whilst enhancing established teaching and research profiles".[2]

In 1996 plans by the Victorian State Government of Jeff Kennett to privatise the hospital[3][4] were leaked to the press. There was much community disquiet over this decision, and confidential reports on the privatisation were withheld from public scrutiny. Most hospital staff opposed this plan, but being bound by confidentiality agreements dared not speak out publicly fearing for their own jobs. The Labor Party pledged its opposition to the privatisation proposal. With the surprise election in 1999 of Steve Bracks, a minority Labor Government was formed with the support of three Independents. Immediately, privatisation plans for the hospital were shelved, and funding increased.[5]

In August 2000 the Victorian Government announced the redevelopment of the Austin Hospital and incorporating the relocation of the Mercy Hospital for Women (MHW) from East Melbourne to Heidelberg. This public project was the largest hospital redevelopment ever undertaken in Victoria, and one of the largest in Australia, costing $376 million.

2003 onwards[edit]

On 30 April 2003, the Austin changed its name from the Austin & Repatriation Medical Centre (A&RMC) to Austin Health. In January 2005, Dr Brendan Murphy was appointed CEO, and on 7 May 2005, the Mercy Hospital for Women fulfilled a long-term plan and finally opened at Heidelberg.[needs update]

Clinical services[edit]

The hospital provides the only Victorian-wide service for acute spinal injuries, liver transplant[6] and is the state referral centre for toxicology. It has a Statewide psychiatry unit for young children (under 12), the Eagle Child Unit (now called Statewide Child Unit). The Victorian Respiratory Support Service (VRSS) is also located at Austin Hospital. Austin Hospital is one of two major teaching hospitals in Melbourne which maintain a filmless radiology department using PACS.

The Austin Health Vascular Surgery Unit is a quaternary referral centre for complex cases and vascular surgical research,[7][8] and is home to one of the first specialist Vascular Ultrasound laboratories in Australia.[9]

Austin Health is a major centre for kidney transplantation in Victoria[10][11] and participates in the Australian and New Zealand Kidney Exchange[12][13] (ANZKX) program.

The hospital maintains one of the busiest Thoracic Surgical Units in Australia and also offers an extensive rehabilitation service at the Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre in Kew.

The Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Unit is recognised for world-leading surgical techniques in nerve reconstruction surgery.[14]

Teaching and education[edit]

The Austin Clinical School opened to medical students in October 1967.[15] Since then The University of Melbourne Departments of Medicine, Surgery, Psychiatry, Psychology and Physiotherapy have established at Austin Health, with other tertiary institutions affiliated including Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, and La Trobe University for allied health programs. Teaching and training is also offered to students from Monash University, Deakin University, Swinburne University of Technology, Victoria University of Technology and the Australian Catholic University.

Other research institutes affiliated with the Austin Health include the National Stroke Research Institute (NSRI), neurosciences research with the Brain Research Institute (BRI), epilepsy research with the Epilepsy Research Institute (ERI), Australian Centre for Post-traumatic Mental Health, and the Biological Research Laboratory (BRL) which is a commercial supplier of animals for research establishments.

Cancer centre[edit]

The treatment of cancer is particularly important with the most comprehensive cancer service in the Southern Hemisphere with the largest Positron Emission Tomography (PET) service in Victoria. Cancer research based at the hospital is conducted by Ludwig Cancer Research. The Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre[16] is based on the Austin Heidelberg site covering 24,000m2.[17] It was completed in late 2012 and opened in 2013[18] as the result of a combination of government and philanthropic support, as well as donations from 200,000 members of the public totalling $17 million. Total estimated costs were $185 million and its "green" design was accoladed with multiple awards.[19][20][21] On January 1, 2015, the former Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research[22] based at the ONJ centre was closed and renamed the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute.[23]

3D printing laboratory[edit]

The Austin Health 3D Medical Printing Laboratory is run in conjunction with The University of Melbourne, as the first multidisciplinary, hospital-based medical 3D printing facility in Australia, supporting a range of clinical, teaching and research activities,[24][25][26][27][28] including during the COVID-19 pandemic.[29][30]


  1. ^ "Austin 2025 Clinical Service Plan" (PDF). Austin Hospital.
  2. ^ a b "History". Austin Hospital. Archived from the original on 13 April 2020. Retrieved 3 March 2009.
  3. ^ Wynne, Michael (February 2002). "The Austin and Repatriation Privatisation". documents.uow.edu.au. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  4. ^ "The World Today - 31/08/1999: Victorian ALP's big day goes wrong". www.abc.net.au. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  5. ^ Michael Wynne, "The Austin and Repatriation Privatisation" Archived July 18, 2005, at the Wayback Machine, 2002, Faculty of Arts, University of Wollongong, retrieved 2009-03-03.
  6. ^ Toy, Mary-Anne (25 August 2016). "Andrew Chapman's picture essay of an organ transplant". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  7. ^ "Austin Health Department of Vascular Surgery Research". ResearchGate. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  8. ^ Watson, David I.; Tan, Lorwai; Richards, Toby; Muralidharan, Vijayaragavan; Pockney, Peter (2020). "Trainee-led collaboratives, clinical trials and new opportunities in the COVID-19 era". ANZ Journal of Surgery. 90 (11): 2175–2176. doi:10.1111/ans.16156. ISSN 1445-2197. PMC 7361310. PMID 32639103.
  9. ^ "Austin Health: Vascular Surgery". www.austin.org.au. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  10. ^ Van den berg, Lucie (7 June 2014). "Kidney miracle went down to the wire". heraldsun.com.au. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  11. ^ Armitage, Laura (2 May 2016). "Helping hand on the other foot". heraldsun. Heidelberg Leader. Archived from the original on 6 May 2016. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  12. ^ Cadzow, Jane (17 February 2016). "7 kidney donors, 7 recipients, 6 hospitals, 3 cities. What could possibly go wrong?". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  13. ^ Coulton, Mark (24 September 2019). "Living kidney transplants to increase under joint Australian and NZ program". health.gov.au (Media release). Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Health. Archived from the original on 13 April 2020. Retrieved 26 January 2020.
  14. ^ "Australian surgeons restore hand and arm function to paralysed patients". Sky News. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  15. ^ Thompson, Graeme (May 2016). "From Student to Surgeon" (PDF). Laminas – Austin General Surgery Training Newsletter. Sands of Time. 3 (1): 8–11.
  16. ^ "Olivia Newton-John on her cancer wellness center: It's 'my dream' to help others". TODAY.com. 4 October 2017. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  17. ^ "Olivia Newton John Cancer & Wellness Centre". www.bsa.com.au. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  18. ^ Van den berg, Lucie (7 September 2014). "New centre has cancer on the run". heraldsun. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  19. ^ "Olivia Newton John Cancer and Wellness Centre". Jackson Architecture. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  20. ^ "Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness Research Centre | WSP". www.wsp.com. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  21. ^ "Olivia Newton-John Cancer & Wellness Centre | Green Building Council of Australia". new.gbca.org.au. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  22. ^ "Ludwig Cancer Research".
  23. ^ "Olivia-Newton John Cancer Research Institute".
  24. ^ "3D Printing in Medicine – A Transformative Technology". Health Voices. 22 November 2017. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  25. ^ Trounson, Andrew (22 August 2017). "Five ways 3D printing is changing medicine". Pursuit. Archived from the original on 5 September 2017. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  26. ^ Listek, Vanesa (10 June 2019). "Interview with Jasamine Coles-Black: Benefits of 3D Printed Models in Vascular Surgery". 3DPrint.com | The Voice of 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing. Archived from the original on 12 June 2019. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  27. ^ "Interview with Jason Chuen: Shaping Australia's Medical 3D Printing Environment". 3DPrint.com | The Voice of 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing. 18 December 2019. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  28. ^ "Body Print — Medical 3D Printing on 7 News". www.youtube.com. 7 News, Melbourne. 10 May 2018. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  29. ^ Zhang, Kathy (1 May 2020). "3D printing medical equipment for COVID-19". Pursuit. Archived from the original on 12 May 2020. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  30. ^ Miles, L. F.; Chuen, J.; Edwards, L.; Hohmann, J. D.; Williams, R.; Peyton, P.; Grayden, D. B. (2020). "The design and manufacture of 3D-printed adjuncts for powered air-purifying respirators". Anaesthesia Reports. 8 (2): e12055. doi:10.1002/anr3.12055. ISSN 2637-3726. PMC 7369400. PMID 32705085.

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