Expanding its provision of exceptional services, Mater opens new Mater Mothers' and Mater Children's Hospitals, while continuing to advance cancer research through Mater Research.

The new Mater Children’s Hospital

As a specialist referral centre for young patients from all over Queensland, northern New South Wales and beyond, Mater Children’s Hospital faced increasing pressure on its services during the latter part of the 1980s and early 1990s. In order to relieve that strain and ensure it was well equipped to face the medical challenges of the 21st century, Mater committed to constructing two new Children's Hospitals for privately insured and non-insured patients. On 16 May 2001, a new Mater Children's Hospital and Mater Children's Private Hospital was officially opened on Stanley Street by the Governor of Queensland, His Excellency Major-General Peter Arnison, AC and blessed by the Archbishop of Brisbane, The Most Reverend John Bathersby, DD.       

The new Mater Children’s Hospital, with its external fa├žade designed to reflect the essence of Queensland—blue skies and brown land, sparkling seas and tranquil creeks—was designed to be family-focused. Overnight accommodation was provided for parents in every ward and single room, parent lounges and special relaxation areas for teenagers were created, indoor and outdoor play areas were designed and ample space allowed for performers visiting the hospital.

Ceramic tiles designed by children were installed on many walls; windows and service counters were built at child height; the chapel was designed to be welcoming to children and, in 2003, a bright, light-hearted animal mural was painted on a corridor wall to lead children from ward areas to play areas.

The new hospital also became the first in Queensland with a Starlight Room contributed by the Starlight Foundation and supported by Australian tennis champion Pat Rafter.

On 12 June 2008, The Queensland Paediatric Cardiac Service was officially opened at Mater Children's Hospital by the Minister for Health, The Hon. Stephen Robertson MP and blessed by the Auxiliary Bishop for Brisbane, The Most Reverend Brian Finnigan, DD.  

On 6 July 2011, Mater Children's Hospital celebrates its 80th birthday with a special birthday party.

‘Queensland Greats’

In June 2001, Sister Angela Mary Doyle AO was named a 'Queensland Great' for her outstanding contribution to the Queensland community. Sister Angela Mary Doyle arrived in Brisbane from Ireland in 1948, and was despatched to Mater to train as a nurse. However, hospital administration, rather than nursing administration, was to be her strength and Sister Angela Mary was Administrator of Mater hospitals for 22 years. In response to the continuing need to raise funds for research and new healthcare services, Sister Angela Mary became Executive Director of Mater Trust from 1993 to 1997 and served on the board until 2003. Her recognition as a ‘Queensland Great’ is one of many awards she has received, including Queenslander of the Year (1989), Australian Achiever Award (1990), Order of Australia (1993) and the Premier’s Millennium Award for Excellence in Charity/Welfare.

In June 2002, Professor David Tudehope, Director of Neonatology was also named a 'Queensland Great' for saving many lives and encouraging others to explore new neonatal technologies. A distinguished physician and author, Professor Tudehope has chaired a number of paediatric committees and was appointed Mater’s Director of Neonatology in July 1977. During almost 30 years in that position, Professor Tudehope and his team of doctors, nurses and surgeons cared for more than 30 000 babies. Mater’s Neonatal Critical Care Unit has grown to become one of the largest within Australia, providing care to more than 2000 babies each year.

On 30 May 2006 Premier Peter Beattie named Mater a Queensland Great, an honour normally reserved for individuals, officially recognising Mater as one of Queensland's oldest and most respected healthcare providers.  

On 11 June 2009, Dr Robyn Rodwell, Director of Queensland Cold Blood Bank at Mater and Chief Scientist of Haematology Molecular Genetics was named a Queensland Great by the Premier of Queensland Anna Bligh MP.

Mater Private Hospital Brisbane leads the way

In July 2001, Australia's first artificial cervical (neck) disk replacement was successfully performed by a surgical team at Mater Private Hospital Brisbane.

Two years later in 2003, Mater Private Hospital Brisbane commissioned its ninth operating theatre. The theatre, which was the only one of its kind in Australia, was equipped with video technology that allowed surgeons to watch operations performed by visiting international specialists. It also enabled teleconference links to any teleconferencing venue in the world.

In 2004, Mater Private Rehabilitation Unit was opened in the Potter Building, expanding the service with a further 48 beds.

Expanding the provision of exceptional services

In 2004, Mater announced its intention to build a new Mater Mothers' Hospital to provide the exceptional maternity services required for Queensland's growing population. Mater Adult Hospital would also be extensively refurbished as part of this project, for which the Queensland Government committed A$111 million funding. Work on the Mater Redevelopment project commenced the following year, in 2005. Three years later, the new Mater Mothers' Hospitals were officially opened and commence caring for women and their babies from Wednesday 4 June.

Advancing Mater Research

In 2001, Mater's Mucin research team discovered the MUC13 gene, important to colorectal cancer, which gained international recognition.

Two years later, then Queensland Premier, Peter Beattie, launched Mater Prostate Cancer Research Centre, thanks to a A$1 million donation by Brisbane businessman, Bill Siganto.

Mater Misericordiae Health Services Brisbane

On 1 July 2001, Mater was formally incorporated as Mater Misericordiae Health Services Brisbane, one of the last Catholic hospitals in Australia to be incorporated. The canonical responsibility of Mater Health Services Brisbane Limited including its associated entities: Mater Foundation and Mater Research, was officially transferred from the Sisters of Mercy to Mercy Partners on 23 April 2013. Mercy Partners is a Catholic Church entity established in 2008 following approval from the Vatican.

 

Mater would like to acknowledge Helen Gregory, author of Expressions of Mercy. Mater has used information, as appropriate, from this publication to support the creation of this content.