Timeline 2000 to now

Key events - 2000 to now




Victorian Premier Steve Bracks announces plans to rebuild the Royal Women’s Hospital.




Leadership: The Women’s offers assisted reproductive techniques to HIV-positive men with HIV-negative female partners and to HIV-positive women from 2006.




Women’s and Children’s Health Care Network is disaggregated and the Royal Women’s Hospital is again established as an independent health service with its own Board of Directors.




Establishment of the hospital's Clinical Practice Improvement Unit (CPIU).

Construction begins on the new $250 million Royal Women’s Hospital in Parkville..

25 October

Ms Dale Fisher is the first woman appointed to the position of Chief Executive in the hospital's 149-year history.




Launch of the Centre for Women’s Mental Health, supported by Government funding and $2.5 million donation from the Pratt Foundation.


Victorian Premier Steve Bracks launches the Royal Women's Hospital 150th celebrations.




The Women’s celebrates 150 years of providing care for the women and babies of Victoria.



26 May On National Sorry Day, Chief Executive Dale Fisher apologises on behalf of the hospital Board and staff to the Stolen Generations, Aboriginal women and their families for past practices and policies of the hospital. Read the apology here.


The Women’s moves to its new site on the Cnr of Flemington Road and Grattan Street, Carlton. The new building was officially opened by the then Premier, John Brumby in June, 2008.




Magnetic Resonance guided Focused Ultrasound service at our Pauline Gandel Women's Imaging Centre opens, which provides treatment for uterine fibroids. We are the first hospital in Australia to do so.




Nipple tattooing introduced: The Combined Breast Service of the Women’s and Royal Melbourne Hospital offers women the opportunity to have a breast reconstruction. The team can reconstruct the breast mound and the physical nipple, but they had not been able to re-create a coloured nipple and areola (the coloured area around the nipple), and this can cause psychological distress. In 2013 nipple tattooing technique introduced. 

MSAC: The Women's established the Menopause Symptoms After Cancer (MSAC) clinic specifically to care for women with menopausal symptoms and a history of cancer. It is the only clinic in Victoria where menopause, mental health and cancer are treated together.

Project Primip launched at the Women’s in September. It aims to increase the vaginal birth rate and reduce the rate of caesarean section




International Clinical Trial: An international clinical trial of 221 babies led by A/Prof Susan Jacobs, Director of the Women’s NISC, has validated a unique and simple way to reduce the risk of brain damage during newborn transport from a suburban or country hospital to a tertiary (complex) care centre like the Women’s.



23 January

Chief Executive Dale Fisher apologises to mothers and families involved in past forced adoption practices at the Women’s. Read the apology here


World-first study: A world-first study at the Women’s Gynaecology Research Centre was conducted in 2011/12 to determine if key nerve fibres associated with endometriosis and pelvic pain in older women are present in young women (aged 19 or below) with pelvic pain.




ROP Screening: The Women’s develops a nurse-led Newborn Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) Screening Service. This service has the potential to be developed as an outreach service across Victoria to assist at other Special Care Nurseries. The Newborn ROP Screening Service was made possible by donations to the Royal Women’s Hospital Foundation from the Oscar & Luca Fund and the Mathieson Family.

Young Women’s Strategy: Our community told us that we needed to focus on the needs of young women. In response, we developed a Young Women’s Strategy to improve the information and care we provide to women aged 19 years and under.

Lifetime Achievement: Associate Professor Leslie Reti from the Women’s was named the recipient of the 2013 Victorian Public Healthcare Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Melbourne IVF and the Women’s achieved the world’s first births from abdominal wall grafting – twin girls – when a Melbourne woman became pregnant seven years after her ovaries were removed during cancer treatment. Fragments of ovarian tissue were stimulated to produce eggs that were fertilised through IVF.


The Women’s becomes a multi-campus hospital with the transfer of the management of maternity and gynaecology services at Sandringham and District Hospital from Alfred Health. This partnership with Alfred Health provides access to specialist expertise in maternity care and women’s health for women living in the Bayside area.




New Chief Executive Officer: Dr Sue Matthews, RN BA MHScN DPH Wharton Fellow, is the new Chief Executive of the Royal Women’s Hospital.

The Women’s Health Book is launched across Australia.

World first study: A team, led by Professor Martha Hickey from the Women’s, is investigating the benefits and harm of risk reducing surgery. Women’s Health After surgical Menopause (WHAM) will look at the impact on health, in particular sexual function, bone density, heart risk and the severity of menopause symptoms. The study will involve 210 Australian women aged between 18-50.


Premier’s Award: Dr Brett Manley received a commendation at the 2014 Premier’s Award for Health and Medical Research.  The Governor of Victoria, Alex Chernov, presented it. Dr Manley is a neonatologist at the Women’s.


Leadership: New Victorian Breastfeeding Guidelines released with the aim of protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding in Victoria. The guidelines, funded by the Victorian Government, were developed by the Royal Women’s Hospital in partnership with the Judith Lumley Centre at La Trobe University and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.

Woodward Medal of Excellence: One of Australia’s leading experts in high-risk pregnancies, Associate Professor Mark Umstad, awarded the 2014 Woodward Family Medal of Excellence, the highest honour bestowed by the Royal Women’s Hospital. A/Prof Umstad is the Clinical Director of Maternity Services at the Women’s.

New research led by the Women's and published internationally shows that the national program to vaccinate school-aged girls and boys with the "anti-cervical cancer" vaccine is providing population-wide protection against the virus responsible for most cases of cervical cancer.


A/Prof Alicia Dennis and co-author Dr Julian Castro, a consultant cardiologist at St Vincent’s Hospital, wrote in the international journal Anaesthesia that the cause of the potentially deadly condition of pre-eclampsia may be the unique response of women to the oxygen demands of a growing fetus.

The Minister for Health David Davis celebrated Father’s Day at the Women’s by launching Growing Together, an Australian-first kit for new parents.

Louise Newman joins the Women’s: Professor Louise Newman announced as the new Director of the Centre for Women’s Mental Health (CWMH) at the Women’s.


Tanya Farrell, our Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery, appointed an Adjunct Professor at La Trobe University.

The Women’s celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Tracy Maund Lecture and Medical Student Awards. The prestigious awards are named in honour of two of the founders of the Women’s, Richard Tracy and John Maund.




Leading women’s health experts Professor Martha Hickey and Dr Paddy Moore from the Women’s write simplification of early medical abortion protocols might improve access and acceptability of abortion internationally.


The Women’s and the University of Melbourne celebrated the 150th anniversary of the first lecture in obstetrics and gynaecology with a lecture and dinner on 26 March.


The Maternity Services Education Program at the Women’s rolls out resources to the state’s maternity services to help identify Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies.

The inaugural Lilyroo Ride returned to an emotional welcome at the Women’s after completing the1156km seven-day journey from Adelaide. The Lilyroo Ride had set out on Easter Sunday to raise awareness and money for our Newborn Intensive and Special Care (NISC) unit.


Clinicians and patients from the Women’s involved in a world-first ovarian cancer study that reveals how deadly ovarian cancer outsmarts chemotherapy.

The breakthrough, published in the journal Nature may potentially change treatment approaches for women with high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma (HSC).


Well-known founder of the Pink Ladies, outspoken women’s health advocate and former Melburnian of the Year, Lyn Swinburne AM, appointed the new Board Chair of the Royal Women’s Hospital.


The Women’s CEO Sue Matthews made the keynote speech at the Ramaciotti Awards where she praised the work of female researchers and philanthropists.


The Women’s excellence in research highlighted with over $6.8 million awarded in Federal Government grants for on-going studies into a range of health issues affecting newborns and women.

Leading clinicians and researchers from around the world attend the Women’s Cool Topics in Neonatology conference where the latest innovations and developments in perinatal and neonatal care have been highlighted.


A series of guides are developed to help hospitals across Victoria further strengthen their responses to family violence.

Developed by the Women’s and Bendigo Health, in partnership with Our Watch, the guides were funded by the Victorian Government and are available free to download.

The Women’s and La Trobe University publish a study that found women who receive care from a primary midwife were far more likely to be satisfied with all aspects of maternity care – pregnancy, labour, birth and postnatal care.

The primary midwife model (or ‘know your midwife’) involves women being looked after by the same midwife (or a back-up) throughout pregnancy, birth and in the early postnatal period


Minimising harm to babies exposed to adverse early life events such as premature birth and birth asphyxia the focus of a $6.12m NHMRC-funded research program. The five-year program will be led by a group including the Director of the Women’s Newborn Research Centre, Professor Peter Davis.

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