For more than 165 years The Royal Melbourne Hospital has touched the lives of millions of Victorians, providing care and treatment for the sickest in our community.

Nurse with a patient

Today the hospital is recognised as a world renowned institution, not only providing outstanding care and treatment, but improving the outcomes for all through a comprehensive medical research program, and the training of our future health professionals.

As one of the largest hospitals in Victoria, the RMH provides a comprehensive range of health services across two campuses. Our city campus provides general and specialist medical and surgical acute services. Sub-acute services, including rehabilitation and aged care, outpatient and community programs are provided from our Royal Park campus.

The Royal Melbourne Hospital plays a key role within the broader Victorian health sector as a major Victorian referral service for specialist and complex care being a designated state-wide provider for services including trauma. It also contains centres of excellence for tertiary services in several key specialties including neurosciences, nephrology, oncology, cardiology and genomics.

We have a proud history of leadership in translating research to improve clinical care. We believe research is fundamental to achieve excellence in care and improve patient outcomes. We constantly seek out new therapies and innovative practices and methods, through a culture of learning and discovery. Over the next five years we will strengthen this culture as we aim to be a leading centre for the delivery of translational health research and education.

As a leader in clinical teaching and training, we also look to shape the healthcare and research leaders of the future in collaboration with our teaching and training partners. We have strong relationships with leading academic institutions across clinical specialities for undergraduate students, staff, post-graduate students and external health professionals. Our enduring partnership with The University of Melbourne has been in place for nearly 150 years.

The RMH - Our vision and values

Our vision is to be First in Care, Research and Learning. With this vision, we are building on a strong foundation of firsts and aspiring to be leaders across all service areas. And the way we work together to achieve our vision is guided by our values. We are committed to living our values in everything we do and building a positive, safe, patient focused culture.

Firsts at the RMH

An iconic organisation is so much more than the bricks and mortar which house it. The potency of its history is derived from the calibre of the people who worked there, the immense challenges they overcame and the extraordinary milestones they achieved.

Over more than 165 years, The Royal Melbourne Hospital has been at the forefront of many Australian firsts and world-renowned innovations:

  • pioneering work at the hospital in anaesthetics in 1902 lead to the discovery that sudden death under chloroform was due to cardiac and not respiratory failure
  • Australia's first full-time qualified specialist radiologist is appointed to the hospital in 1925
  • Victoria's first blood transfusion service established at the hospital in 1929 and the employment of the first dietician in an Australian hospital employment of the first dietician in an Australian hospital
  • leader in the provision of welfare services to patients with the employment in 1929 of the first social worker in an Australian hospital
  • first Australian specialised dietetics department established in 1929
  • in the 1940 and 1950s, early research in neurology and on radiological examination of the brain culminated in the publication in 1957 of pneumoencephalography which became a seminal text used world-wide
  • discovery of Malignant Hyperthermia in 1960 following investigations into one family's history of anaesthetic deaths
  • first successful kidney transplant in Australia in 1963
  • Australia's first university chair in Radiology is created in 1965 jointly at the hospital and the University of Melbourne
  • development of Australia's first cardiac pacemaker in 1965
  • World's first 'free flap' reconstructive micro-vascular surgery operation is performed by a RMH plastic surgeon in 1973
  • formation of the Vascular Surgery Unit in 1975, the first of its kind in Australasia to specialise in arterial surgery
  • in the 1970s, diabetes research led to received international acclaim and citations for our doctors for their work in clarifying the relationship between insulin receptor in cells and the action of insulin
  • Australia's first Coronary Angioplasty, performed at RMH in 1979, commencing a new era in endovascular surgery with arterial ballooning and stenting
  • Establishment of the first Bowel Cancer Registry in Australia in 1979 and pivotal groundwork for the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program is undertaken following studies by RMH doctors on bleeding patterns in colorectal cancer and benign tumours
  • in a world first, RMH doctors, in the 1980s, invent artificial blood vessels - 'omniflow' biovascular grafts made of collagen and used worldwide as substitute arteries and for dialysis treatment
  • the first implantable cardioverter defibrillator operation in the southern hemisphere is performed at the RMH in 1984
  • a vascular atlas of the human body is created in the late 1980s by RMH reconstructive and plastic surgeons
  • Australia's first bionic ear electrode for the brain implanted at the RMH in 1995
  • in 1996, Australia's first keyhole coronary bypass operation was performed without a heart / lung machine
  • World's first Aortic Stent Graft occurred in the 1996 when vascular surgeons at RMH implanted the first Talent graft in a human and repaired the world's first traumatic thoracic aortic rupture using an endograft
  • pivotal clinical trials in the 1990s in the use of Colony Stimulating Factors revolutionised cancer therapies worldwide and made cytokine therapy with G-CSF and GM-CSF a standard of care in cancer medicine
  • in the 1990s, hospital psychiatrists lead Victoria's move from an asylum-based system to a general health and hospital-based system, and the establishment of area-based mental health services
  • in 2000, the RMH was the first Australian hospital, and only the second in the world, to use computer assisted surgery, initially in joint replacement surgery
  • in 2001, the RMH has opened Victoria's first dedicated Stroke Unit and in 2010 appointed Australia's first stroke nurse practitioner
  • in 2001, the RMH is one of the first hospitals in the world to introduce wireless "Pill Cam" endoscopy use
  • October 2002, the hospital is designated as a Centre for Clinical Research Excellence in Infectious Diseases. In 2006, our Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory is selected as one of only four World Health Organisation Global Specialised Influenza Laboratories worldwide
  • RMH in 2003 becomes the first Australian hospital to incorporate leading edge audiovisual technology with the installation of interactive telesurgery equipment
  • March 2006, RMH performs the world's first implant of cultured specialist stem cells in an orthopaedic patient
  • In 2011, RMH neurosurgeons pioneer Victoria's latest breakthrough in neurosurgery using a drug known as Gliolan, which makes cancerous brain tissue glow a fluorescent pink, giving patients access to cutting-edge technology and improving surgical outcomes
  • Announced in 2012 in a world first, RMH researchers are investigating the use of Botox to reduce the debilitating tremors and shakes in people with multiple sclerosis
  • May 2014, six patients received a kidney in Australia's first 6-paired kidney transplant
Awards & recognitions

We are proud of our staff and their achievements. Their contribution to health is recognised nationally and internationally. By fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration, where courageous ideas are encouraged and success is celebrated, we can continue to attract the best to our organisation.

Australia Day Honours 2016

​Four senior staff from the RMH were recognised in the 2016 Australia Day Honours. Prof Kate Leslie, Specialist Anaesthetist, was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to medicine in the field of anaesthesia and pain management as a clinician and researcher, to higher education, and to professional medical groups. Prof Fin Macrae, Head of Colorectal Medicine and Genetics, was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to medicine in the field of gastroenterology and genomic disorders as a clinician and academic, and to human health through the Human Variome Project. 

A/Prof Peter Greenberg, consultant general physician and Head of one of the General Medical Units at the RMH and Principal Fellow in the University of Melbourne Department of Medicine, was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to medicine, and to population health. Mr John Cunningham, Orthopaedic Surgeon, was also awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to medicine, and to the promotion of immunisation.

Queen's Birthday Honours 2016

In the Queen’s Birthday Honours, Dr Richard Travers OAM, former Rheumatologist at Melbourne Health and currently an Honorary Associate, was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for service to medical history, to medicine, and to the community. RMH
Neurologist Professor John King, AM, received a Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to medicine as a neurologist, to medical education, to Multiple Sclerosis research, and to professional organisations.

National and International Awards

Our staff continue to go above and beyond to achieve excellence. In 2015/16, a number of staff were recognised both nationally and internationally for their dedication and commitment to patient care.

Professor Frank Vajda received the Ambassador for Epilepsy Award by the International League Against Epilepsy and the International Bureau for Epilepsy for his service to the epilepsy community, and Professor Jeff Szer was appointed President of the Worldwide Network for Blood and Marrow Transplantation, the first time an Australian has held the position.

The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons honoured Professor James Tatoulis with the Award for excellence in Surgery, for obtaining the highest level of surgical achievement by world standards and for the highest standards of surgical ethics, as well as his leadership, innovation and advancement in the field.

In mental health, three of Orygen’s leading researchers, Professor Patrick McGorry, Professor Michael Berk, and Associate Professor Barnaby Nelson, were recognised by the Brain and Behaviour Foundation for their outstanding work in the field, marking the first time that the Foundation has granted these prestigious awards to researchers working in Australia.

Professor Patrick McGorry AO, Executive Director of Orygen and Professor Geoffrey Lindeman, medical oncologist and head of RMH Familial Cancer Centre, were among 21 Fellows elected in the Australian Academy of Science, one of the highest honours an Australian scientist can receive.

An up and coming leader in the field of neurosurgery, trainee Dr Ruth Mitchell, was recognised for her outstanding leadership, advocacy, and accomplishments, and for her passion for addressing bullying and sexual harassment in the medical profession, being awarded the AMA’s Doctor in Training of the Year Award.

After three decades of exceptional research and clinical practice, Professor Peter Colman, Director of Diabetes and Endocrinology, was the 2015 recipient of the Diabetes Australia – Outstanding Achievement Award for Diabetes Research.

Victorian Public Healthcare Awards

In 2015, a landmark clinical research study that is improving outcomes for stroke patients across the globe  won gold in the 2015 Victorian Public Healthcare Awards.

EXTEND-IA, a study led by The Royal Melbourne Hospital’s Dr Bruce Campbell and Prof Peter Mitchell, looked at the effectiveness of adding a minimally invasive clot removal procedure called stent thrombectomy to standard clot-dissolving therapy. This project won the 'Improving healthcare through clinical research' category of the awards.

The 2013 Victorian Public Healthcare Awards saw Melbourne Health score well in several categories. The gold winner of the Excellence in quality healthcare award went to the physiotherapist-led joint replacement therapy review clinic, which has dramatically improved patient satisfaction and confidence in post-operative care, reduced waiting times and improved timely correspondence between the patients’ GPs and the clinic.

The Northern Area Mental Health Service’s Our Time playgroup was highly commended in the Minister for Mental Health’s Award for delivering innovative alcohol and drug or mental healthcare. Our Time is a supported playgroup program for parents with a mental illness and their children from newborn to five years old. This unique program provides a safe, non-judgemental space for family bonds to be maintained, where parenting skills can be improved and children’s development enhanced.

The team who developed two educational videos on culturally safe care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients were highly commended in The Secretary’s Award for improving patient outcomes and patient experience. These videos empower Aboriginal people to be full partners in their care and encourage staff to be part of a positive cultural shift in how healthcare is delivered.

Highly commended also went to the Code Stroke team in the Outstanding achievement by an individual or team award. This multidisciplinary team reduced the all-important door-to-needle time for optimal patient outcome by 23 minutes in the first year of operation.

Facts & statistics

General

  • The Royal Melbourne Hospital is Victoria’s first hospital – established 1848
  • More than 9,000 staff employed across 32 sites
    • Around 6400 staff employed with The Royal Melbourne Hospital
    • Around 1800 staff employed with NorthWestern Mental Health
  • Approximately 1,400 beds across hospital and community settings
  • 630,000 meals served each year at RMH City Campus
  • 1 tonne of materials recycled each day from the RMH City Campus
  • 2.5 tonnes of waste disposed of each day from the RMH City Campus
  • 1.34 kilometres of underground tunnels

Patient Care

  • 92,662 people discharged from the RMH in 2015/16
  • 178,061 outpatient attendances in 2015/16
  • 68,523 people provided with urgent care in the RMH emergency department in 2015/16
  • 13,663 elective surgeries performed in 2014/15
  • 12 operating theatres at RMH City Campus
  • Around 20 to 25 helicopters land each month at the RMH City Campus
  • RMH is the only accredited level 1 Trauma Centre in Victoria - benchmarked against major trauma centres around the world
  • RMH provides the fastest emergency stroke treatment in Australia - door to needle time treatment in 25 minutes

Research

  • More than 800 staff involved in clinical research across all disciplines
  • More than 200 new human research studies approved each year
  • More than 1600 active human research studies underway, of which more than 350 are clinical trials
  • More than 550 research publications and review articles placed in peer-reviewed journals in 2014
  • $13.5million in education and research funding was secured in 2014/15

Education

  • 80 medical interns appointed at the RMH in 2016
  • 107 graduate nurses employed at RMH in 2016
  • 50 registered nurses completed their Graduate Certificate in clinical nursing in 2014

Patient safety and quality of care

More information about our patient safety and the quality of our care is available on the Federal Government's My Hospitals website:

RMH Foundation

The purpose of the Royal Melbourne Hospital Foundation is to improve the health of communities served by The Royal Melbourne Hospital through the support of quality healthcare services, support of innovative research, and the education of health professionals across our hospital.

The Royal Melbourne Hospital Foundation encourages the community, organisations and businesses to support the services of The Royal Melbourne Hospital.

Donations to the Royal Melbourne Hospital Foundation help improve patient care, purchase life-saving medical equipment, and ensure our research teams continue to find better ways to cure our patients.

Find out more about the Royal Melbourne Hospital Foundation