Recently my mother was on holidays on the Gold Coast, and as she is an age pensioner she was staying in some fairly basic, although quite comfortable, accommodation. Unfortunately, only a few days into her vacation, she woke up one morning with a sharp pain in one eye. After mucking around rather unsatisfactorily with unfamiliar medicos on the coast, she finally came back up to Brisbane and saw her own eye specialist. Diagnosis - shingles! Shingles is a viral disease similar to chickenpox that results in painful inflammation of nerve-endings. I have had shingles too - but only on the abdomen. It was a real nightmare, because I couldn't bear to have even a sheet touching my body. I cannot imagine how painful it would be to experience it on the face and in the eye.
The purpose of relating that story was to get to today's post, which is about the Greenslopes Hospital. That's where my mum spent a week or so under treatment for the shingles, including much-needed pain relief. I have to say that the hospital is superb. The rooms are bright and airy, the entry foyer is more like a five star hotel foyer than a hospital waiting-room, there's plenty of parking and the bus pulls up right outside. We joked with Mum that she had a more luxurious stay in the hospital than she would have had back on the Gold Coast! Here's a photo of the present entrance to the hospital.
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)
The Greenslopes Private Hospital is run by Ramsay Health Care, a large public company. However, it started life as a military hospital, conceived in 1940 to care for injured soldiers from WWII. Although a Melbourne architectural firm won the principal contract, local architects Hall & Phillips were involved with the site management and working drawings for the 200-bed hospital. The surveying work for the site was handled by Clem Jones, who later became one of Brisbane's longest serving Lord Mayors. Construction of the hospital did not start until 1941, and in the meantime injured soldiers in Brisbane were hospitalised at Yungaba. The hospital's first patients arrived in February 1942. In 1943, the Australian hospital ship Centaur was bombed by the Japanese just off Moreton Island, and the sole surviving nurse, Sister Savage, was transported to Greenslopes for care. Here she is in the hospital, being interviewed after her ordeal. (Photo: Courtesy Greenslopes Private Hospital)
And this is a photo of the old entrance to the hospital - it dates from 1952.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #201588)
As a kid, I lived not too far from the hospital. I was always aware back in those days that it was a facility for returned soldiers - it was known colloquially as "The Repat", short for Repatriation Hospital. In the late 1980s, the federal government made a decision to quit the veterans' hospitals that it owned and ran. The state government declined to take over Greenslopes, and so privatisation became the only other viable alternative. The RSL protested this decision, but in 1994 the hospital was put to tender, and Ramsay Health Care took over the running of the hospital in 1995. Since then the facilities and medical services have been expanded, and today, if my mother's recent stay there is any indication, the hospital is at the forefront of medical care.
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