Agency VA 1238
Mercy Hospital for Women (known as Mercy Maternity Hospital 1971 to 1991)
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Date Range: Circa 1971 - cont
Description of this AgencyDescription of this Agency

The Sisters of Mercy arrived in Melbourne from Perth in 1857 to open the first school to be conducted by a religious order in Victoria. Around 1919, they commenced hospital work in Melbourne. In 1920, Rev. Mother M. Francis and five Sisters of Mercy formed the nucleus of the hospital staff at St. Benedicts in Malvern.

The Hospitals and Charities Commission registered the Mercy Maternity Hospital Society as a "benevolent society" under the provisions of the Hospitals and Charities Act.

In 1926 with the support of the Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, application was made to the Victorian Government for permission to establish a Public Hospital. This was refused as the Government considered the needs of the time called for intermediate and Private Hospital accommodation. As a result of this decision, planning commenced for the Mercy Private Hospital which later opened at East Melbourne in 1935.

The Mercy Private Hospital was registered by the Hospitals and Charities Commission under the provisions of the Health Act. The hospital was owned by the Property Association of the Sisters of Mercy.

The 1940's brought further discussions with the Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne who expressed his support and encouragement for the establishing of a Public Maternity Hospital, subject to the needs of the community and the availability of finance from the State Government. In 1964, the State Government granted approval to commence planning for the Mercy Public Maternity Hospital. The Mercy Maternity plan was launched as "Public Hospital". An appeal to the public and business firms in 1964 raised $ 1 million.

Mercy Maternity Hospital was opened in 1971 and was included in Table B of the Health Commission Act, 1977, No 9023 and the Health Services Act 1988, No 49 as a subsidised incorporated institution.

In 1986, the Sisters of Mercy handed over legal responsibility for the conduct of the Hospital to the Board of Management. Incorporation of the Hospital under the Associations Incorporation Act 1981 saw full legal responsibility for all policy matters vested in a newly constituted Board of Management. Previously the Board served in an advisory capacity only.

The hospital was required to provide maternity, nursing, administrative, financial and other services as was required by the Board of Management. The management of the Hospital vested in the Board which directed all the affairs of the Hospital.

Subject to the requirements of the Health Services Act and the By-laws of the Hospital, the Board of Management exercised all powers of the Hospital including control of the funds, provision of all requisites for the use of the Hospital and the appointment and discharge of all members of the Medical Establishment, officers and staff, including the Chief Executive Officer and Secretary.

The Board of Management could appoint, from among its members the other persons, Advisory Committee for the purpose of advising the Board on particular matters.

Such committees have no executive authority but consider and research all matters to them by the Board and report their findings and recommendations to the Board. Additionally these Committees are required to initiate and communicate to the Board such ideas and advice as they consider appropriate.

There are Committees:

- Responsible for general and financial administration of the hospital,
- Committees responsible for medical and nursing administration of the hospital.
The functional services of the Hospital are:
- Chief Executive Officer's Office and General and Financial Administration, and
- Medical and Nursing.

In 1988 -89 Sister Administrator and CEO roles were separated, General Services and Administration were merged and a Nursing Division was created. There were General, Medical and Nursing Divisions.

In 1991 the hospital was given a new name, Mercy Hospital for Women.

In 1994 Werribee Mercy Hospital was opened (Mercy Public Hospital Inc.)

In 1995, the Sisters of Mercy sought advice on governance and management structure that would ensure viability of Mercy health Care into the 21st century. In 1996 Mercy Health and Aged care was formed.

In 1997 the three divisions, General, Medical and Nursing, were amalgamated.

In May 2005 the hospital moved to a new building in Heidelberg.

A central location is maintained for correspondence and records in respect of matters dealt with by the Board of Management, the Chief Executive and Administrative Services.

- Files are maintained by agency relating to an internal committee or department or external organisation or subject file of general nature or policy files of Medical, Nursing and Financial Services areas.

Other records include:
- Minutes of Board of Management and meetings of Advisory Committees to the Board and action statements of other Committees functioning within each functional area.

- Title documents attesting ownership or use of real property, other security documents and contracts are evidenced by the Hospitals' copy of the legally drawn and executed instrument supported by appropriate documentation e.g. building plans and specifications.

- Medical Record Files created for patients.

- Records of employment history of employees of the hospital.
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Record series created by this AgencyRecord series created by this Agency
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Date Range Series Title Series Number Series Location Public Access
? 1976 - ? 2001 Minutes, Board of Management and Sub-Committees VPRS 15629 North Melbourne Open
1971 - ? 1984 Minutes, Advisory Board / Advisory Council VPRS 15631 North Melbourne Open
1971 - ? 2000 General Subject Files VPRS 15627 North Melbourne Open
1972 - cont Annual Reports VPRS 15688 North Melbourne Open
By 1971 - ? 2000 Minutes, Various Committees VPRS 15630 North Melbourne Open
By 1971 - ? 2000 Staff Employment History Cards VPRS 15632 North Melbourne Closed
By 1971 - ? 2002 Committee Minutes, Medical and Nursing Administration VPRS 15628 North Melbourne Open
By 1971 - ? 2002 Theatre Register, Private VPRS 15633 North Melbourne Closed
By 1971 - ? 2002 Theatre Register, Public VPRS 15634 North Melbourne Closed
Functions for which this Agency has or has had primary responsibilityFunctions for which this Agency has or has had primary responsibility
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Circa 1971 - cont Health, public VF 125
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1971 - cont Health VRG 39