Royal North Shore Hospital is a tertiary hospital that services the Northern Sydney LHD patients but provides care statewide for issues such as burns and spinal injuries. Its major role is as a tertiary referral centre and teaching hospital. Such centres as RNSH have the capacity to manage complex medical problems such as: major trauma, burns, spinal injuries, organ transplantation, neurosurgery, cardiothoracic surgery, cancer services etc. In addition, it functions as a local hospital for the residents of northern sydney. More than one third of all its patients come from the four local government areas of Lane Cove, North Sydney, Willoughby , Mosman and Ryde.
With the relocation to a new state of the art hospital, RNSH has seen an increase in ED presentations as the community has regained its confidence in its local hospital. In addition as the population ages it is projected that the hospital needs will only increase and hence the campus should not diminish in size as future generations may need more facilities. The land sale would result in a campus that would not have the space to provide this essential service in the decades to come. It would potentially be a public health disaster for the citizens of Northern Sydney and NSW.
Clinical services offered at the hospital include aged and rehabilitation care, surgical services, immunology, dermatology, microbiology, palliative care, cardiology, cardiothoracic surgery, critical care, emergency medicine, endocrine medicine and surgery, haematology, medical imaging, mental health care, neurology, obstetrics and gynaecology, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, paediatrics, pathology, podiatry, respiratory care, renal services such as dialysis and transplantation, urology and vascular and trauma medicine.
Community health services offered at the hospital include child, adolescent and family services, drug and alcohol treatment, child protection, sexual health care, carer support, breast screening, mental health services, dental health services and health promotion.
State-wide services provided by the hospital include neonatal intensive care, severe burn care and reconstructive surgery, pain management and research, spinal cord injury care, interventional neuro-radiology, cerebrovascular embolisation and the services provided by the Sydney Simulation Centre.
The hospital is also one of the state’s major trauma centres and provides local and State-wide trauma services, including a specialist burns unit and a specialist spinal unit. There is no other referral hospital in NSW that can provide spinal and burns treatment as a part of a trauma service. Similarly, it is the only Burns Center that can treat patients that require obstetrics and trauma care. In this regard, the sale of the RNS Hospital campus will affect the care of trauma patients from across the state of NSW.
The trauma service at RNSH is complemented by comprehensive intensive care and diagnostic clinical support services. Helicopter ambulance flights deliver patients to RNSH from country centres. The efficiency of the retrieval services in this state, and the services they provide to our rural communities, can not be overlooked.
The hospital is also the major tertiary referral, research and teaching hospital in the Northern suburbs of Sydney. It is affiliated with the University of Sydney (Northern Clinical School) and the University of Technology, Sydney (nursing education) and many staff hold conjoint appointments. It is responsible for training future generations of health professions. Institutions like RNS are the future of health care in Australia.
** See page 9 of the 2007 Joint Select Committee Report on RNS Hospital