From Fort Constantine to the Médipôle hospital complex
This 120 XPF stamp issue, designed by Jean-Jacques Mahuteau, traces the history of healthcare in Noumea from 1854, when Tardy de Montravel built Fort Constantine in the hills above Port-de-France, to 2017, when the Gaston Bourret/Koutio Médipôle hospital complex was officially inaugurated.
Fort Constantine was primarily built to protect the colony from possible attacks but, from 1860 onwards, also housed a naval hospital. The fort was demolished in 1870 and replaced by a military hospital accommodating thirty beds. Staffed by army doctors, the institution provided medical care for sailors, civilians and convicts and became a colonial hospital in 1897.
The hospital was expanded and modernised throughout the 20th century: further buildings were added and various special units were created (intensive care, neurology, maternity, gynaecology, obstetrics, surgery...), providing hospital care for greater numbers of patients. In 1981, Gaston Bourret hospital, named in 1958 after the Director of the Microbiology Institute (who died in 1917 after accidentally inoculating himself with the plague bacillus), became the Noumea Territorial Hospital, with management ensured by a civilian team. In 1983, the former Magenta Clinic was added to the complex, followed in 1990 by the Raoul Follereau Centre and Col de la Pirogue Sanatorium.
Greater and more sophisticated resources were required to meet New Caledonia’s healthcare needs and construction work on a new hospital complex, designed by architect Michel Beauvais, began in 2012. Boasting 90,000 m² of facilities, the complex is designed to ensure excellence in patient comfort and safety and medical performance and to reflect its Oceanian environment.
The new hospital complex was inaugurated in 2017 and has a permanent staff of 2,300. Per year, A&E capacity is 60,000 admissions, hospital bed capacity is 40,000 and the figure for patient visits/consultations is 58,000.