|Description of this AgencyDescription of this Agency|
Established in 1882, the Austin had five name changes that included the "Austin Hospital for Incurables" before becoming the Austin Hospital.
Many of the clinical areas that the Austin is renowned for today have their roots in the hospital's early history. Cancer, for example, was one of the "incurable" illnesses first patients were admitted with. In the 1920s, the Austin Hospital began experimenting with "X-ray" treatment for cancers and by 1935 the Austin was the largest cancer hospital in Australia.
Austin Health's current cancer services at Austin Hospital and Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital will be consolidated into a comprehensive centre on the Austin site, through a capital appeal for the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Centre.
The Austin's expertise in spinal injuries was developed from caring for "incurables" with paraplegia, and later in rehabilitating children who had survived polio and early victims of car accidents.
Respiratory medicine at the Austin had is origins in consumption, or tuberculosis, and neurosciences care can be traced back to early stroke victims suffering paralysis.
In 1939, the first operating theatre and accommodation for acute medical and surgical patients was established.
In 1956, the Austin's comprehensive spinal injury treatment and rehabilitation services were fully operational. Four years later the Austin Hospital became a general hospital with the opening of the outpatient and casualty block.
An affiliation with The University of Melbourne commenced in 1965 when the Austin Hospital Clinical School was established. Austin Health now hosts The University of Melbourne's departments of medicine, surgery, psychiatry, psychology and physiotherapy.
The Austin Hospital and Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital amalgamated on 1 April 1995 to become Victoria's largest tertiary referral centre providing a broad range of patient services whilst enhancing established teaching and research profiles.
From August 1995 to 31 October 1997, the Austin was part of the North Eastern Health Care Network. On 1 November 1997, the Austin again became a stand-alone medical centre.
The Austin changed its name from the Austin & Repatriation Medical Centre (A&RMC) on 30th April 2003 to Austin Health, but its three facilities - Austin Hospital (Heidelberg), Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital (West Heidelberg) and Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre (Kew) first merged in 1995.
The new Austin Health included the Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre and the then psychiatric services at Larundel, which were transferred to the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital in October 1999. Renal and respiratory services originally provided by Fairfield Hospital were consolidated with Austin Health in June 1996.
The Victorian State Government redeveloped the Austin Hospital site, opening the new inpatient facility and the newly co-located Mercy Hospital for Women in May 2005. It is the largest hospital redevelopment ever undertaken in Victoria, and one of the largest in Australia. Visit the AR/M Project website for details.
New mental health facilities were opened on the Austin Hospital site late in 2006, including 55 mental health beds as part of an expanded mental health precinct, with 15 adult acute psychiatry beds (High Dependency Unit), nine beds for the Mood and Eating Disorder Unit and six beds for the Mother and Baby Unit.
This administrative history was compiled in October 2012 from the agency's website.