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About Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH)

Established in 1885 to serve the Mosman, Willoughby, Lane Cove and North Sydney Communities, the Royal North ShoreHospital internal Hospital (RNSH) is a leading tertiary teaching hospital of The University of Sydney (medicine, allied health), University of Technology, Sydney (nursing), and Australian Catholic University. RNSH is a NSW Trauma Centre for severe burns injury, neonatal intensive care, spinal cord injury and interventional radiology.

The Kolling Institute of Medical Research is a health and medical research centre with a focus in research training.

There are currently 5,000 staff working at RNSH.

  • Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH) is a major teaching hospital located in the Northern Sydney Local Health District).
  • RNSH provides local health services to four local government areas north of Sydney Harbour – Lane Cove, Mosman, North Sydney and Willoughby and Ryde.
  • RNSH has state-wide responsibilities in the provision of healthcare. It is one-of-six major trauma centres in NSW, and is the only trauma centre capable of providing care for major burns, spinal injuries and serious injuries during pregnancy. The RNSH emergency and trauma services are complemented by comprehensive intensive care and diagnostic clinical support services.2
  • RNSH is also a major referral and tertiary hospital for the area extending north of Sydney Harbour, up to the southernMale Drs x 3 shore of Lake Macquarie, and west to Wiseman’s Ferry.3
  • RNSH caters for more than 1,110,600 people, which equates to 1 out of every 20 Australians, and 1 in 5 people living in NSW population.3,4
  • As a major teaching hospital, RNSH has acted as an education facility for University of Sydney undergraduate medical students for more than 60 years, and acts as the main headquarters for the program’s Northern Clinical School.2,5 The hospital’s teaching program involves students of Allied Health and nursing students from University of Technology, Sydney.
  • RNSH also provides facilities and support for postgraduate students, scientists and clinicians undertaking research programs in a variety of fields.2
  • The RNSH campus comprises the Acute Services Building ( opened in 2012), the Douglas Building and The Clinical Services Building is due to open in December 2014.
  • The overall area of the RNSH grounds is approximately 13 hectares, and 11.6 hectares in functional area. It is commonly known as the Royal North Shore Hospital Campus.3
  • RNSH currently has a maximum capacity to hold 420 acute medical and surgical beds. Overall, including acute overnight and day-only beds, it has a total of 600 beds.
  • In 2010, there were 56,354 presentations to the Emergency Department  and since the opening of the new Acute Services Building increased presentations have occurred with 61,739  patients requiring assessment and treatment in 2012/13.
  • Approximately 3,000 babies are born annually at RNSH.

History of RNSH

  • Screen shot 2011-02-17 at 5.42.43 AM.pngRoyal North Shore Hospital was established in 1885 as a cottage hospital in Crows Nest.
  • In June 1903, the hospital relocated to St Leonard’s, where it remains to this day.8
  • RNSH facilities have developed in a cumulative manner over the last century, mostly in a haphazard and disrupted way. During this period, additional land was regularly acquired for expansion. Five major allocations and many small blocks were added to the site, so expansion  has never posed a problem.3,9
  • The Board of RNSH accepted the invitation from the University of Sydney ‘to agree to the hospital being recognised as a Clinical School for the instruction of Medical Graduates’ in November 1946. Wallace Freeborn, a Sydney graduate, became Chief Executive Officer of the Clinical School on December 10, 1946.9

Hospital facilities / services

  • RNSH provides a comprehensive number of services including: Aged Care & Rehabilitation, Breast Screening at ‘The Cottage,’ Child Care, a Child Protection Unit, Diabetes Education Service, Dialysis Unit, Drug & Alcohol Services, RNSH Museum, Newborn Care Centre, NSW Severe Burn Injury Service, Occupational Therapy, Orthotics/Dieticians ,Obstetrics and Gynaecology  services, Neonatal Intensive Care,  Physiotherapy, Podiatry, Radiation Oncology / Clinical Oncology, Renal Services including dialysis and transplantation, Rheumatology, Surgical cancer services, Psychological Medicines, Health Promotion, Simulation Centre, Sexual Health Clinic, Speech Pathology, Home Nursing, and until recently it also offered Medical Students Accommodation.10
  • The RNSH helipad receives critically ill and injured patients from country centres and other urban hospitals.10


Research / education services

  • Screen shot 2011-02-17 at 6.03.26 AM.pngThe RNSH Kolling Institute of Medical Research comprises seven research groups: Bone & Joint Group, Developmental & Regenerative Medicine Group, Pain Management Group, Renal Group, Cardiology Group, Hormones & Cancer Group and the Perinatal Group.11
  • The Centre for Genetics Education is housed at RNSH and provides current, relevant genetics information to the people and their families who are affected by genetic conditions.12


  1. Northern Sydney Local Health Network. Northern Sydney Local Health Network. New South Wales Health Department. Accessed February 1, 2011. Available from
  2. Northern Sydney Central Coast Health. Royal North Shore Hospital. New South Wales Health Department. Accessed January 19, 2011. Available from
  3. Royal North Shore Hospital. Concept Plan. New South Wales Health Department. July 2006.
  4. Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2006. ‘New South Wales’. Person Characteristics. Accessed January 19, 2011. Available from
  5. Northern Clinical School. History of the Northern Clinical School. University of Sydney. Accessed January 19, 2011.
  6. Royal North Shore Hospital. 2010. Emergency Department data on file. Royal North Shore Hospital. Sydney
  7. Royal North Shore Hospital. 2010. Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology data on file. Royal North Shore Hospital. Sydney
  8. Northern Clinical School. Royal North Shore Hospital. University of Sydney. Accessed January 19, 2011.
  9. Vanderfield, I. R. 1984. ‘The Royal North Shore Hospital’. in Young J., Sefton A. and Webb N. Centenary Book of the University of Sydney Faculty of Medicine. Sydney University Press. Sydney.
  10. Joint Select Committee on the Royal North Shore Hospital. 2007. Report on inquiry into the Royal North Shore Hospital. New South Wales Parliament. Sydney.
  11. Kolling Institute of Medical Research. Our Research at a Glance. University of Sydney. Accessed January 19, 2011.
  12. Centre for Genetics Education. About Us. New South Wales Health Department. Accessed January 19, 2011.