Townsville Hospital

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Townsville Hospital, with Ross River bridge and the (previously) Davies Laboratory CSIRO visible to the right and JCU entrance on the left
Townsville Hospital from the Douglas Arterial Road

The Townsville Hospital is a public tertiary care hospital in Douglas, Townsville, Queensland, Australia. It provides healthcare across the entire North Queensland region, with patients from as far as Mount Isa and Cape York being airlifted or transported to the Hospital on a daily basis. This is the third general hospital to be built in Townsville and is relatively new (completed 2001). The next main referral hospital is the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, in Herston, Brisbane some 1,375 kilometres (854 mi) distant.


The Townsville Hospital currently has over 580 beds.[1] During the year 2010, the hospital admitted 54,941 patients, and had 60,676 presentations to the emergency department. The hospital is also the major tertiary maternity centre, with 2,308 babies delivered in 2010. The Townsville Hospital is the major teaching hospital of the James Cook University School of Medicine.[1] The current chief executive of the Townsville Hospital and Health Service, which includes The Townsville Hospital, is Dr Peter Bristow and the current Board Chair is Mr Tony Mooney AM. The hospital currently undergoing a $437 million redevelopment, delivering an additional 100 beds, an expanded Emergency Department, expanded Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit, and expansion of oncology services.[2] The Emergency Department is currently the largest in Queensland.


There have been three general hospital in Townsville over the city's 150-year history. The First Townsville Hospital was established in 1882 in North Ward.[3] The two story brick building accommodated 70 patients. When Cyclone Leonta struck Townsville in May 1903 it caused extensive local damage and the hospital partially collapsed.[4] The Second Townsville General Hospital opened in North Ward on 21 April 1951.[4] The old Townsville General Hospital Psychiatric service was the focus of intense scrutiny in the 1980s after it was revealed 65 people had died in the psychiatric ward.[5] The deaths and subsequent inquest gave rise to the Burden Inquiry, Report of the National Inquiry into the Human Rights of People with Mental Illness 1990. The North Ward hospital could not expand any further due to its urban location and was regularly reaching absolute capacity. However the heritage-listed hospital buildings, with their landmark white art deco appearance, enviable location, and water views, were retained and were turned into exclusive apartments.[6]

The third and current Townsville hospital at Douglas began construction in 1998 and opened in 2001.[7] It is co-located with the James Cook University.


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