The Hospitals Act of 1865

Until 1865 management of public hospitals was solely vested in the hands of local committees, the majority of whom were dependent on State aid to continue functioning. Financial difficulties seriously reduced the level of care available to patients and in a number of instances there were major health risks within the institutions themselves. Although Premier Robert Herbert had little interest in health issues, by 1865 conditions existing in public hospitals throughout the colony were bordering on the scandalous and his government was forced to take action. Introduced in 1865, a Bill to allow the government to take control of public hospitals became effective from September the same year. Under the provisions of the legislation, management of public hospitals in financial difficulties was taken over by government-appointed committees, but the Act also allowed the government to intervene directly in the most serious cases. This was the first major step towards a public hospital system in Queensland.


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