This March, The Wesley Hospital celebrates 40 years of caring for the Queensland community as staff, volunteers, doctors and patients look back on four decades of clinical excellence.
On March 1, 1977, the first patients were transported from the St Helen’s Methodist hospital on Brisbane’s South Bank to the new Wesley Hospital at Auchenflower by a convoy of ambulances. The Wesley Hospital opened with 302 licensed beds, six operating theatres and an intensive care and coronary care unit. Over the past forty years, the hospital has more than tripled its physical size including the addition of 233 beds and increasing the number of operating theatres to 19. This reflects the significant change in health care delivery over that time.
Acting General Manager Rob Wise said the anniversary marks an important milestone in the hospital’s history.
“The Wesley Hospital is renowned for its excellent standard of patient care. It is a leader of growth and innovation in the healthcare field, and it has been for the past four decades. We are proud of this hospital’s extensive history and we are looking forward to caring for the Queensland community for the next 40 years and beyond.”
Hospital Nurse Manager Christine Henderson, (pictured left, in the 1980s) who has worked at the Wesley since 1978, credits the hospital’s community spirit and the opportunities she was offered as the reasons she stayed with the organisation.
“I love the Wesley, and the people of the Wesley. This is a community, and I think that’s what keeps people working here – the staff are very loyal to the hospital.
“The Wesley has been so good to me – every time I have needed to move and advance my clinical skills, there has always been another opportunity available to me.”
For Christine, the Wesley’s relationship with Uniting Church Australia was an important factor in her decision to apply for a role at the hospital.
“I’m a Uniting Church member, and the values and beliefs of the church have always been important to me, so that was one of the reasons why I looked for work here after I finished my training. It was important to me to try and continue living those values and beliefs in the work that I did.”
Former Director of Medical Services, Dr Douglas Killer, joined the hospital in 1986 and continued in this role until 2006. He continues to have a close relationship with the Wesley to this day, including his role as Executive Officer of the UnitingCare Health Human Research Ethics Committee.
Dr Killer can recall a time in the 1980s when the role of a private hospital in Australia’s healthcare sector was growing. To keep up with the growth of demand, the hospital made a plan to embrace the advances in treatment and introduction of new technologies in all medical and surgical disciplines.
“The Wesley, from the time of its forerunner, St Helen’s Hospital at South Brisbane, has always striven to provide the best possible care for its patients,” Dr Killer said. “Education and research underpinned this excellence in care – indeed the Nursing School was certainly the first of its kind in a private hospital in Queensland and possibly the first in Australia. There has always been an openness to approach by medical practitioners to partner with them in the development of their practice. Clinical service development is driven by the medical and nursing leadership within the hospital.”
For Dr Killer, it is the friendliness and collegiality of all staff, and their earnest endeavours to achieve the best possible outcomes for the patients which keeps him loyal to the hospital.
“The spirit of cooperation pervades all departments. No challenge was ever too large – all projects and service developments were always achieved which fostered a confidence and enthusiasm among the staff in the institution.”
The Wesley Hospital offers tertiary-level medical and surgical services across 30 specialty areas including oncology, cardiology, urology, neurosurgery, gastroenterology, orthopaedics, maternity and women’s health.