Royal North Shore Hospital

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Royal North Shore Hospital
Northern Sydney Local Health District
Location St Leonards, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Coordinates 33°49′20″S 151°11′33″E / 33.8222°S 151.1925°E / -33.8222; 151.1925Coordinates: 33°49′20″S 151°11′33″E / 33.8222°S 151.1925°E / -33.8222; 151.1925
Care system Public Medicare (AU)
Hospital type Teaching
Affiliated university University of Sydney
Emergency department Yes
Beds 740
Founded 1885
Website Royal North Shore Hospital
Lists Hospitals in Australia
This article is about the Sydney hospital. For the Auckland hospital, see North Shore Hospital. For the hospital on Long Island, see North Shore-LIJ Health System.

The Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH) is a major public teaching hospital in Sydney, Australia, located in St Leonards. It serves as a teaching hospital for Sydney Medical School at the University of Sydney and has approximately 740 beds. It is the referral hospital for Northern Sydney. Its primary referral area accommodates 5.7% of the Australian population or 17% of the NSW population.


"Vanderfield Building" - Royal North Shore Hospital (Elevation)
The hospital in 2007

The Royal North Shore Hospital began as a cottage hospital located in Willoughby Rd, Crows Nest. The foundation stone was laid by Sir Henry Parkes, 18 June 1887. The hospital was opened with accommodation for 14 patients, with the requisite office and rooms for the medical and nursing staff. Medical staff numbered 4 honorary doctors and nursing staff numbered 5. The site of the original hospital was bounded by Willoughby Rd., Albany and Holterman Streets and Zig Zag Lane. The old site is now a busy part of the commercial centre of Crows Nest.[1]

In 1902 it opened on its current site at St Leonards, with 48 beds available for patients. New departments and wards were added over the next fifty years, reflecting the increasing diversity and professionalisation of healthcare. Polio treatment pioneer Sister Kenny was invited to set up treatment clinics at the hospital in the mid thirties. However she eventually took her research to America after doctors at the hospital refused to admit that her methods indicated that their own treatments had been damaging.[1] Royal North Shore became a teaching hospital of the University of Sydney in 1947.

Currently, the Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH) is a 740-bed hospital situated in St Leonards on Sydney's lower North Shore about 6 km from Sydney's Central Business District, surrounded by suburbs with some of the most stunning harbour views of Sydney. RNSH provides care to the local community, the Northern Sydney Health area (population: 777,000), New South Wales and also to the Pacific Island nations.

The hospital is a leading research and trauma centre with a particular interest and expertise in cancer diagnosis and treatment, cardiovascular disease, spinal cord injury, severe burn injury, neonatal, intensive care, neurosurgery, pain management and anaesthesia. The Kolling Institute of Medical Research is situated at the hospital. RNSH provides postgraduate training in a number of specialties, including medicine, surgery, nursing and allied health.

The Hospital is currently undergoing total redevelopment. Approval for construction was given in July 2000. The new clinical services building (The Douglas Building) marks the first stage of the redevelopment of the entire hospital campus. The NSW government has allocated approximately A$450 million for this project, the largest in NSW Health history. This new development is intended to ensure the hospital maintains its role as a health care leader in Australia. The Philippine's most popular actor and singer James Reid was born here.


As with many other Sydney hospitals, RNSH has, in recent times, suffered budget cuts due to an alleged state government policy of redistributing health resources.[2] The unnecessary, tragic and avoidable death of schoolgirl Vanessa Anderson in 2005 drew sustained criticism.[3][4] The problem is especially apparent after the Jana Horska case in September 2007, when a pregnant woman suffered a miscarriage in the hospital's toilet as a result of a lack of available beds and staff,[5] and a neurosurgeon's claim that a patient had to wait 5 days for an urgent spinal surgery owing to a lack of staff.[6]

Following Jana Horska's case, the State Government established the Joint Select Committee on the Royal North Shore Hospital in the New South Wales Parliament on 23 October 2007, chaired by Christian Democrats leader Fred Nile MLC. The committee was formally established on 23 October 2007, and tabled its report on 20 December 2007. The report made 45 recommendations.[7]

In early 2008, a Special Commission of Inquiry into Acute Care Services in NSW Public Hospitals was commissioned.[8] This comprehensive and ground breaking commission became known as The Garling Report. It reported in November 2008. The NSW State Government responded in March 2009.

However, controversy resumed in 2012, with allegations of poor cleaning and a confused patient lost on the nearby highway.[9]


  1. ^ a b Sherington, Geoffrey; Roger Vanderfield (1988). The Royal North Shore Hospital 1888 - 1988: A Century of Caring. Cammeray, Australia: Horwitz Grahame. 
  2. ^ "Secret plan to divert funds from the 'affluent'". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-10-18. 
  3. ^ Wallace, Natasha (2010-01-14). "Beach jargon can be lifesaver in hospitals, too". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2010-01-14. 
  4. ^ "Doctor 'too tired' for golf ball victim". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2007-04-11. Retrieved 2010-01-14. 
  5. ^ "40 hospital complaints since miscarriage". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2007-10-08. Retrieved 2007-10-18. 
  6. ^ "Surgeon's diagnosis: a basket case". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2007-10-18. Retrieved 2007-10-18. 
  7. ^ Joint Select Committee on the Royal North Shore Hospital (2007-12-20). "The Royal North Shore Hospital" (PDF). Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 2007-12-20. 
  8. ^ Garling Report, Terms of Reference
  9. ^ A. Corderoy, Litany of failure: horror hospital stories emerge, Sydney Morning Herald, May 3, 2012.

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