MD, MSc, FRACP
Professor Bruce Robinson is a clinical Endocrinologist and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Sydney – a position he has held since 2007. Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH) works with the University of Sydney Medical Faculty to provide valuable education and hands-on experience to medical students in a clinical setting. Before assuming his current role as Dean, Professor Robinson was head of the Division of Medicine at RNSH from 1998 to 2006.
In 1989, Professor Robinson founded, and continues to lead, the Molecular Genetics Unit (now known as the Cancer Genetics Laboratory) at the Kolling Institute of Medical Research on the RNSH campus. He has made significant contributions to the genetic research of endocrine disease and cancer, and throughout his career has contributed to many clinical studies and publications, and supervised many PhD projects. In 1992, he established the Endocrine Tumour Bank – an important resource for genetic study.
Professor Robinson is also the founding Chairman of Hoc Mai – the Australian Vietnam Medical Foundation – a University of Sydney initiative established in 2001 to coordinate medical and scientific educational exchange between the two countries.
Professor Bruce Robinson’s position on how the current redevelopment plans for RNSH will impact the University of Sydney’s Medical program and its students
The construction of the new, purpose-built Kolling building in 2008 to house the Kolling Institute for Medical Research and Education has been a very positive outcome of the RNSH redevelopment so far.
However, many aspects of the next stages of the redevelopment plan are flawed and seriously threaten the future of RNSH, both as a healthcare and teaching facility.
The proposed sell-off of more than 50 per cent of RNSH land straitjackets the delivery of exceptional clinical care and services in the future. We are certain that once the land is divested and residential and commercial buildings are constructed, RNSH will never have access to that land again. This will severely limit the potential to expand the hospital campus and its services in the future. We will be hamstrung if we sell that RNSH land now.
Many hospitals, particularly in London, sold-off hospital land for other uses approximately 10 years ago, and unfortunately they have learnt their lesson the hard way. Now they can’t afford to buy back the land required for the development of new buildings and facilities, which has severely limited the ability of these hospitals to provide innovative healthcare.
We cannot predict how clinical care and teaching will need to be delivered in 20 years time. Nowadays the education of medical students has expanded to include experience in an ambulatory setting, rather than solely in a traditional hospital setting. This type of non-hospitalised interaction between patient and doctor may be the sort of teaching facilities we need to build in the future. Likewise, the sort of research facilities that we require in the future may be different, or more extensive to what we have available now. Building these new teaching and research facilities at some point in the future will require vacant land, which obviously will not be available if we sell more than half the RNSH grounds now.