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 (TTH) is a public tertiary care hospital in Douglas, Townsville, Queensland, Australia, and the largest facility within the Townsville Hospital and Health Service )HHS) geographic area. 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 is the largest facility in the Townsville HHS, and is the only tertiary referral hospital in northern Australia. Townsville HHS provides public healthcare services across an extensive range of specialties in acute, community and outreach settings[1].

The Townsville HHS covers a geographic expanse extending north to Cardwell, west to Richmond, south to Home Hill, and east to Magnetic and Palm Islands. As northern Australia’s only tertiary hospital and health service, the HHS services an extensive catchment stretching from Mackay in the south, north to the Torres Strait Islands, and west to the Northern Territory border. The catchment population is more than 695,000 people.

The HHS has a geographic footprint of 148,000 square kilometres and is home to a resident population of 238,614 or around 4.8 per cent of Queensland’s overall population.

The HHS is a major economic driver for the region with approximately one in 17 people in paid work employed by the HHS. The Townsville HHS employs 6,248 clinical and non-clinical staff who deliver person-centred care defined by quality, safety and compassion to diverse communities across North Queensland.

The Townsville Hospital currently has 775 beds. The Townsville Hospital is the major teaching hospital of the James Cook University School of Medicine. The current Chief Executive of the Townsville Hospital and Health Service, which includes The Townsville Hospital, is Kieran Keyes and the current Board Chair is Mr Tony Mooney AM [2].

The Townsville HHS comprises 20 facilities across its catchment. These are:

Ayr Health Service

• Cambridge Street Health Campus

Cardwell Community Clinic

Charters Towers Health Service

Charters Towers Rehabilitation Unit

Eventide Residential Aged Care Facility

Home Hill Health Service

Hughenden Multi-Purpose Health Service

Ingham Health Service

Josephine Sailor Adolescent Inpatient Unit and Day Service

Joyce Palmer Health Service

Kirwan Health Campus

• Kirwan Mental Health Rehabilitation Unit

Magnetic Island Community Clinic

North Ward Health Campus

• Palmerston Street Health Campus

Parklands Residential Aged Care Facility

Richmond Health Service

The Townsville Hospital

Townsville Public Health Unit

In 2017-2018, the Townsville HHS achieved level one performance status; one of only two HHSs to achieve this rating. Performance levels are determined by the Department of Health against key components described in the ‘Delivering a High Performing Health System for Queenslanders: Performance Framework’.

The HHS is accredited against the Australian Commission on Healthcare Standards and in 2017- 2018 demonstrated achievement against prescribed measures in the HHS Strategic Plan 2014-2018 (2017 Update). These included a decrease in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rate of discharge against medical advice, improved treat and seen-in-time rates, an increase in followers on social media[3] and a budget surplus.


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.[4] 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.[5] The Second Townsville General Hospital opened in North Ward on 21 April 1951.[5] 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.[6] 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.[7]

The third and current Townsville hospital at Douglas began construction in 1998 and opened in 2001.[8] It is co-located with the James Cook University.


  1. ^ Hospital and Health Service, Townsville. "The Townsville Hospital | Queensland Health". Archived from the original on 2018-03-13. Retrieved 2018-10-08.
  2. ^ "Townsville Hospital and Health Service Board". Queensland Health. Archived from the original on 2018-04-18. Retrieved 2018-10-08.
  3. ^ "Townsville Hospital and Health Service". Archived from the original on 2017-08-04. Retrieved 2018-10-08.
  4. ^ Townsville Council website: A Chronological History of Townsville 1770 to 1900 Archived 2009-09-29 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ a b Townsville Council website: A Chronological History of Townsville 1901 to 1969 Archived 2009-09-29 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ "Deadly Disclosures, William De Maria, ebrary, Inc, p207". Archived from the original on 2017-03-25. Retrieved 2018-10-09.
  7. ^ Raggatt, Tony (1 June 2016). "Luxury units close to completion on former Townsville hospital site". Townsville Bulletin. Archived from the original on 2017-02-23. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  8. ^ Townsville Council website: A Chronological History of Townsville 1970 to 2003 Archived 2009-09-29 at the Wayback Machine.

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