For 170 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.

For 170 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 2017

The following people were recognised in the 2017 Australia Day Honours:

Dr John Graeme Sloman AO was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to medicine, particularly to the specialty of cardiology, as a clinician, through advisory roles with a range of medical organisations, and to the community.

Dr Emma O’Brien OAM was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for her service to community health through music therapy programs.

Queen's Birthday Honours 2017

The following people were recognised in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours:

Professor James St. John AO has been awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia for his distinguished service to medicine, and to medical research, as a gastroenterologist, to innovative public health cancer screening programs, and as a mentor of young clinicians.

Professor Peter Colman AM, Director of the Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia for his significant service to medicine in the field of endocrinology, particularly diabetes research, patient education and clinical management.

National and International Awards

Our staff continue to go above and beyond to achieve excellence. In 2016/17, a number of staff were recognised both nationally and internationally for their dedication and commitment to patient care.

Our internationally renowned stroke expert Professor Stephen Davis AM was honoured with the 2017 visiting C Miller Fisher Professorship at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard University.

Associate Professor Steven Tong, Infectious Diseases Physician at RMH and Indigenous Health Theme Leader at the Doherty Institute, was awarded the 2017 Frank Fenner Award for Advanced Research in Infectious Diseases.

Dr Jai Darvall, Anaesthetist and ICU Consultant, was awarded the highly esteemed Gilbert Brown Research Prize by the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists, and Professor Jeff Szer was elected President-Elect of the World Marrow Donor Association.

The British Association of Urological Surgeons awarded Professor Tony Costello AM the prestigious 2017 St Peter’s Medal, the first Australian recipient, for his pioneering contribution in prostate anatomy, robotics and laser treatment.

Professor Dennis Velakoulis, Clinical Director, Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre NWMH
and University of Melbourne, received the Professional Excellence Award at the annual
Hellenic Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Excellence Awards.

Professor Terry O’Brien, Professor Ian Wicks and Professor Trevor Kilpatrick were elected as new Fellows of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences

Victorian Public Healthcare Awards

In the 2017 Victorian Public Healthcare Awards, The Royal Melbourne Hospital’s Refugee and Immigrant Health Program (RHP) has won the excellence in CALD health category.

And a collaborative effort between The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, A new anti-cancer therapy: a breakthrough in treating chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, was highly commended in the category of improving healthcare through clinical research.

In 2016, a NWMH program that supports consumers to get back on track through the Assisted Intensive Medication Service won the category of Improving Equity.

A collaboration between Merri Health and RMH won the Excellence in Providing Alternative Care Paths for the Back pain Assessment and Management Service in Primary Care program.

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
  • Over 480 volunteers across Melbourne 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
  • 100 sterilisation cycles each day to keep our 20,000 surgical instruments clean
  • Our robot TUGs travel 19km and make 290 deliveries each day

Patient Care

  • 98,913 people discharged from the in 2016/17
  • 184,109 outpatient appointments in 2016/17
  • More than 74,000 people provided with urgent care in the RMH emergency department in 2016/17
  • 23,920 elective procedures performed in 2016/17
  • 12 operating theatres at RMH City Campus
  • 126 kidney transplants performed in 2016
  • 1.38 million public tests carried out by our pathology service
  • Around 40 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 2018
  • 120 graduate nurses employed at RMH in 2018
  • 54 registered nurses completed their Graduate Certificate in clinical nursing in 2017

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.