Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
Newborn Care



History of John Spence Nursery


The King George V Memorial Hospital for Mothers and Babies was built around 1940 by architect Sir Arthur Stephenson. Following a bequest left by John Spence, the John Spence Nursery opened in November 1971. In 1988, an observation nursery was opened to provide a more tranquil `growing up' area where parents could develop the confidence needed to make the transition to home, with the support of the newly formed Neonatal Discharge and Family Support team. Over the years, the nursery has undergone many refurbishments and major renovations, with improved facilities including outpatient and follow-up clinics, research areas, a comfortable parents’ room, and a breastfeeding area. Nursing education was advanced with the Neonatal Intensive Care Course.

In November 2002, following years of planning and preparation, Maternal and Neonatal services at RPA relocated simultaneously to the current location on the RPA campus. The neonatal service was moved to a brand-new, state-of-the-art nursery. The combined service is now known as RPA Women & Babies, and falls under the management stream within Sydney Local Health District of Womens Health, Neonatology and Paediatric. The neonatal service is now called RPA Newborn Care.

In 2020, NSW Health announced funding for the latest RPA re-development. The re-development will include a focus on Womens Health and Neonatal services, with increased neonatal beds and a continued focus on family centred care practices in a newly designed and built neonatal unit.