When he started his first day in medical records as a 20-year-old, Mr Williams said he could never have imagined spending the next four decades working within its historic walls.
Called the 110 Australian General Hospital when it was built in 1942, it became the Repatriation General Hospital (for war veterans and widows) in 1947 before Ramsay Health Care bought the hospital in 1994.
‘Back in the early days in the 1970s there was still a strong military side to the hospital,’ Mr Williams said.
‘When nurses walked into a ward the patients would stand up to them out of respect and they also held official discharge parades for when patients were fit to go home.
‘There was a tunnel that went from Hollywood to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital (which was a chest clinic at the time) that ran steam to them from our generators. The hospital used to run on steam like a big warship.’
Mr Williams said the seeds of good humour and family culture were first planted at the hospital decades before Ramsay Health Service took over.
‘What was great fun was the cricket matches between the doctors and the staff,’ he said.
‘I remember the trophy was two male urinals crossed over on a wooden board.’
‘Then there was the radio station that ran a morning show to patients and was even picked up by one of the national broadcasters.
‘People would always talk about Ward 19 in Hollywood, but there were only ever 18 wards. We found out that it was the Shenton Park Hotel and back in the day patients would nip up there for a drink.’
Mr Williams said the exciting changeover to HPH 20 years ago was ‘like starting a new job and walking into completely new premises’.
‘It has been wonderful to see the money and support Ramsay has invested into this site,’ he said.
HPH chief executive Peter Mott said it was fitting the hospital was embarking on a $74.1 million expansion in its anniversary year to become WA’s largest private hospital in bed size by late next year.
‘This new stage of the hospital’s growth will include a new 30-bed mental health wing, six more operating theatres, a new kitchen, more car bays and two new 30-bed wards,’ he said.
Graduate registered nurse Clair Sitkei said she was proud to represent the new generation.
‘It has a great reputation and there is definitely something special about Hollywood,’ Ms Sitkei said.
‘I’m fairly new and already feel like I’m becoming part of the team.’