Theme Hospital – Tips and Tricks for Getting Started

Before you play the Theme Hospital game, you will definitely want to know these simple but useful tips and tricks. If you have any tips feel free to share with us!

Things to Know Before Playing

General Advice

  • Alt-S quicksaves, while the 1-5 keys control game speed. Dropping speed to Slowest for a bit is handy in many situation like when building rooms, recruiting people at the start of a month, and dealing with crises.
  • With a machine or person selected, right-clicking the name of the machine or the small image of the person lets you scroll through all machines/people of that type.
  • Avoid casualties; Avoid guessing at cures at anything below ~95% odds and don’t accept emergencies you’re not confident in handling. Move patients in bad shape in front of the queue, or send them away if you think they won’t make it in time.
  • A combination of drink machines and radiators in your waiting areas brings in good extra revenue. Just don’t forget to build toilets, and include some extra space and plants in crowded areas to reduce vomiting.
  • Machine durability equals Strength minus Times Used, visible in the bottom right. Scroll through your machines occasionally to check their status as an earthquake can destroy ones with ~5 durability or less. Handyman repair restores Times Used to 0 but reduces Strength by 1, while hardware replacement restores both and applies any Strength upgrades you’ve researched.
  • Focus your research on cure and diagnosis rooms first with a side of drug improvement. F4 is the research screen hotkey.
  • Depending on where you’ve bought the game the default sound card settings might give you low-quality MIDI music (if you’re not sure, this is probably the case). 

Patient & Room Management

  • The normal patient path is Reception -> GP’s Office -> Diagnosis -> GP’s Office -> Treatment. Consultant-level doctors can diagnose simple diseases immediately, skipping the middle steps. If your diagnosis rooms are far from your initial Office, consider building a new one closer by to reduce crowding and travel time.
  • Good hospital layout is important. High-activity rooms (GP’s Office, Pharmacy, Psychiatrist) should be near the entrance, with Diagnosis rooms close by as well. Ward and Operating Theatre should be close to each other. Clinics are always the final stop for patients, so they can be a bit further away if need be. Staff Rooms should be near workplaces, and toilets near drinking machines.
  • Bigger hospitals will need multiple GP’s Offices once queues start building up, so leave space accordingly or move rooms around. Reducing max queue size from the default 6 can help divide people more evenly if one Office is getting swamped.
  • A bit of room optimization helps a lot in the busier stages. Pay attention to how the staff and patients move around a room and move objects around if they take a lot of unnecessary steps.
  • Never send incurable patients to the Research Deparment to die, especially as it can glitch your game with certain diseases. Sending them home is safer.
  • Epidemics have an annoying bug where the timer runs out instantly if an infected patient steps outdoors, even if it’s to move from one hospital building to another. It’s possible to still succeed at curing everyone before the inspector’s arrival, but sometimes it’s better to try and send them home immediately to minimize damages.

Staff Management

  • Consultants are far faster and better at everything than lower-rank doctors, so always aim to train more of them. Juniors should only be Recruited for training, and mid-level Doctors only if you need specialists, are hurting for staff, or can’t afford Consultant wages.
  • Only recruit top-tier Receptionists, Nurses and Handymen unless you have no choice – check back monthly for new picks. Specializing your Handymen for different tasks helps avoid overlap with their duties.
  • Training Rooms are important, especially in the later stages. Optimally you’ll want a Consultant with at least Surgeon/Psychiatrist as a teacher to make more multi-specialized Consultants. Fewer students and more bookcases speed up training, and Juniors learn faster than Doctors while also retaining their low wages.
  • A Research Department is also critical, staffed by at least one or two Researchers with a Desk or Computer for each. Doctors in Training and Research never go do other tasks, so building a “staff area” consisting of a Training Room, a Research Department and a Staff Room easily accessible from both lets them function mostly autonomously with little downtime. Sometimes Researchers in training will wander over to Research though, so keep an eye out.
  • Reducing the default “Tiredness% before resting” value in the Policy Screen from the default 60% to 30-40% will eliminate most issues caused by tiredness.
  • Check your staff morale regularly. If someone’s unhappy, give them a 10% cash bonus (not a wage increase) – if that doesn’t help, their workplace might be missing a heater or sufficient windows, or they might be overworked.

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