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"Theme Hospital" Tips

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Joe is very knowledgeable about "Theme Hospital," a business simulation PC game.

theme hospital game cd

theme hospital game cd

FAQs About Theme Hospital

These answers are for the Personal Computer (PC) 1997 game Theme Hospital.

My saved game disappeared. What should I do?

When you start Theme Hospital, it asks you for a nickname. From there, there are eight different save files, Game 1, Game 2, Game 3, etc.

Your game files probably didn't disappear. You probably just mistyped the nickname into the game at the very beginning. Always make sure you remember what nickname you used in the beginning, as there are no options to choose from.

How do I fix the doctor bug/glitch in the operating room?

There is an annoying bug in the game where a doctor freezes. His icon is there, but when you go to pick him up, he appears to be outside the hospital, in the grass somewhere. You can't ignore the glitch because the doctor eventually needs to go to the staff room, and the game will freeze and end. If you try to delete the room or fire the doctor, the game freezes and ends. I've only seen this happen in the operating room.

I am not a technical person, so I can't tell you how to "fix" the bug. However, to prevent this from spoiling your game, always keep a saved game file so that you don't have to start the level over in case it happens. More importantly, to prevent the glitch from happening, do not ever pick up a doctor from the operating room. If you need a doctor to leave the operating room, click on the "Edit Room" button and click on the operating room. The doctors will walk out of the room themselves. When they exit the room, then pick them up and move them wherever you want (and don't actually edit the operating room, just click the check-mark, and it will cancel the edit).

The staff (doctors especially) demand too much money.

When you hire staff, their salaries are usually only $100–300. But some doctors demand large raises, to $900+. To prevent this, just periodically click on the staff management button and check everybody's morale. Whoever has low morale even when they're not tired, give them a 10% bonus. It's a pain in the neck to keep checking it, but it seems much cheaper to give people 10% bonuses than to let them gouge you in salary. Do this, and none of your staff will demands raises. This way, you can hire more staff and make more money.

Also, make sure that rooms are warm enough, there are plants in frequently used rooms, and they are getting rest.

How do you keep machines from blowing up?

Hover your mouse over a machine, and you will see two numbers—"Strength" and "Times Used." The strength of a machine is generally how many times the machine can be used before it blows up. When you repair the machine, its Times Used number starts over, but the strength of the machine gradually goes down.

Example: Inflator Strength 8, Times Used 4

When two more people get their heads popped, it is Strength 8, Times Used 6. This machine now needs to be repaired. You can flag a handyman to fix it. If you don't, I think handymen will come by to fix it automatically for you (I don't usually let them get that bad). After it's fixed, it will be either Strength 8, Times Used 0, or Strength 7, Times Used 0.

To reset the Strength of a machine, you have to replace the machine at a cost. If not, the machine eventually loses all strength, blows up, and the room becomes completely useless. Machines usually blow up during earthquakes. An earthquake is equivalent to a machine being used roughly six times, but I think that number depends on the strength of the machine as well. I don't even trust a machine at Strength 6, Times Used 0 before an earthquake. I'll buy a replacement.

The best way to keep a machine from blowing up: First off, place a fire extinguisher in every room with a machine that can be repaired (I think it lets you get away with more Times Used before it blows). Place a researcher(s) in the research department and adjust the Improvements settings according to your priority. You will get a message that says something to the effect of "Your Inflator has been improved in the research department." This means that instead of the default setting of Strength 8 for the inflator, it will now be at 9 or 10 when you buy a replacement or when you make another room. The more improvements your machines get, the stronger they are, and the less vulnerable they are to blowing up. So each time you see a tremor, lower the game speed to Slowest, and make sure all of your machines are able to handle the earthquake. I replace all machines that are Strength 6 or less, and I make sure "iffy" machines at for example Strength 12 Times Used 6 get repaired. Machine maintenance, in my opinion, is the most annoying part of Theme Hospital, but you have to do it if you don't want your machines to keep blowing up.

There is a glitch where the door to the GP's office disappears, and a patient walks in front of it but doesn't move anywhere. What do I do?

This happened to me occasionally when I sent patients to the Research Department. For whatever reason, they couldn't move anywhere when they left the GP's office. The only way I know to fix it is to just send the patient home. If memory serves, I think this only happened when I sent someone with hairyitis to the research department, but don't quote me on that.

How do you cure epidemics?

Epidemics are a strange concept in this game that I don't fully understand. But here is what I've found. First off, if my hospital is laid out in a way where patients have to go outside to other buildings, then I don't even attempt to cover up an epidemic. The reason is that once an infected patient leaves a building for any reason, news of the epidemic seems to spread immediately, leaving no time to cure everybody (for this reason I always try to keep my hospital layouts closed, where nobody goes outside until they're cured).

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An epidemic starts in a GP's office where it's discovered. Immediately put the game speed at Slowest. Your mouse pointer becomes a tube of green ooze when you place it over an infected patient. Clicking this ooze onto a patient sends a nurse to come and vaccinate this patient (it may be a good idea to hire an extra nurse just for this and then fire her when it's over). When a nurse applies the vaccination, a red X appears over the patient, indicating that they can no longer spread the disease to anyone else. I think that nurses vaccinate patients in the order that you click on them, but I'm not sure. Note: This whole vaccination process might not even be necessary if there are few people in your hospital with the disease.

Anyway, that is only how you help contain the epidemic. You still have to cure the infected patients if you don't want to get fined. The only advice here is to follow each patient's progress and place them at the head of each queue. Also, make sure there is a ready doctor or nurse available in the rooms they need to get them cured as fast as possible. When I know that I am behind, and there is no way that I can cure everyone in time, I send everyone who is infected home. Believe it or not, it sometimes works.

Additional Tips

  • When saving game files, use different files for different parts of a level. For example, use GAME 1 file for the beginning of the current level you are on. Use GAME 2 file for when you have your hospital built but are not yet open for business. Use GAME 3 file for period updates throughout the level. Do this with as many of the files you can. If you screw up the level, just load up GAME 1 or GAME 2 and try again. It is very frustrating to have to start the entire game all over again because a glitch or a bug prevents you from beating the level.
  • Keep in mind that if you accept an emergency but cannot handle it, the uncured patients die.
  • If you see a person with a deteriorating skull above them and they are not close to being cured, send them home so that they don't die in your hospital.
  • Be careful which plots you buy when you are looking to expand. Even though the plot may be located right near your hospital, patients and staff may have to walk very far outside to reach the building. This is a lot of wasted time that you should avoid if you can. Always save the game before purchasing a plot.
  • Save space in your research department for the computer and the atom optimizer. I'm not 100% sure but I think these are necessary to build the latest machines. The computer is roughly 1 x 2 squares, and the optimizer is roughly 2 x 4 squares.
  • Have well-trained doctors. They are much faster. As mentioned above, make them comfortable and give them periodic bonuses so that they don't demand pay raises.

Advanced Strategy

A generic approach I use to winning the last level(s): You need to get a research department and training room (with many bookcases) operating early. Get your doctors well trained and give them many bonuses to keep them from demanding higher wages. Buy as few land plots as you can to generate money early. Buy all rooms but squeeze them in, and as your hospital expands, destroy the rooms and reorganize as needed. I beat the last level with four GP's offices and only one receptionist desk (highly trained staff though). Keep the nurse rooms together (ward, pharmacy, fracture clinic) and the doctor rooms together so that they don't have to constantly walk all over the hospital. Keep most GP offices and diagnosis rooms close to the center/entrance since they're used more often. Let them walk further for the clinics.

As far as corridor layout, I don't make waiting areas. I just make hallways two or three spaces wide throughout the hospital and line them all with benches (mostly), plants, radiators, and drink machines. If my queues get outrageously long, I occasionally just boot people out of the hospital until I can catch up. Lay out the furniture in your rooms smartly, especially GP offices. Don't even make the doctors walk around their chairs to the file cabinets as that time adds up with hundreds of patients. Put the patient's chair close to the door. Think efficiency with every room.

I'll be more than happy to answer any questions you have on the PC version of Theme Hospital, but as time goes by, I'll lose memory of the details of the game. If I can't answer them hopefully someone else can. If anyone has any additional or better tips, hints, strategies, or comments, let 'em fly. Thanks.


B-Yourself on August 09, 2017:

Hi I am having problems with this game, very often it expands, meaning that the whole frame of the game grows 75%

How do I fix this, when it is that big I can`t do anything other that exit, and open it again.

Joe (author) from Pennsylvania, USA on February 16, 2017:

Johana. It's been a while since I played the game, but yes, it sounds like you'll have to restart the level.

Johana on February 16, 2017:


I just started playing this game. I'm having an issue and I'm not sure if that's how the game is or not, I wish I had read the part about saving files before but basically I think I failed a level so it shows me the scandal video. But now I'm not sure what to do, I don't know how to re start the level and when I load my game it just takes me to the level I failed and shows me the video again. So does that mean I have to start all over at level 1? Please help!


Dave on January 02, 2017:

Help! I have a stupid glitch! The game keeps closing and going back to the load game menu after I close the hall of shame/fame screen and then it plays the short clip of the doctor being caught on the loo. I have the game at the highest difficulty and don't want to loose my place in the level as it has taken me ages! haha

Froggy on March 20, 2015:

Also looking for best salaries so I can challenge myself.

Nikki on February 11, 2015:

Is there anywhere that lists the best salary offers you can get for each level?

Knolle95 on January 26, 2012:

Hello. I was looking for an old and nice game and though:

Wait, my brothers was playing this great game. Download it and start playing. After a while, I get a bug in my hospital. A Doctor stucks between two doors. Normaly there is only one door in one room, but there are two yet. My patient can go into the room and out too, but my doctor can't. To stupid to leave the room and I can't catch them and set him to another point in the Hospital.

I can't delet/edit the room too :-S

Need help.

Leonora on May 27, 2011:

Hi! Ive just downloaded the game. Im on level six. But suddenly the screen becomes black and the game i shut down. This happends every time i try to restart, what is happening? please help me, I have to play, im obsessed :P

Thank you for an informal and helpful site!

Luke Plumber on October 19, 2010:

I really hated the doctor glitch; it seemed to happen to me when I was doing well and/or when I had money coming in. Thanks for the fix for that, I never thought about editing the room which would remove the doctors. I haven't played theme hospital for years now and I used to play it a lot when I was younger, it was my favourite game. Thank you so much for the help on resolving some of the issues that the game had. I still have the game disk at home and I now feel like playing it, I just hope my computer will run it.

Philippe on September 13, 2010:

tip for epidemics:

ignore it.. then you get the message the epidemic has been discovered and an inspector will come; after the message, wait until the inspector is nearly the reception desk and pick it up and the inspector will get away (but don't pick it up too quick, because nor the patients can go to the reception desk) (i think it's more like a stupid bug, but hell effective and you'll get money )

Joe (author) from Pennsylvania, USA on October 15, 2009:

Rachel sent me this email:

"I am on the croaking level of theme hospital and was doing really well. I only need to cure 70% of my patients, and am currently on 64%. for the last 5-6 years I haven't had one patient come to my hospital. I have no money coming in so my money is going down, I don't know what to do. I don't want to start this level again, its taken me ages!!"

I've never experienced anything like this before. It looks to me like you may have to restart the level. What I would try first though is to check the queue setting on your reception desk and make sure it isn't set to 0.

My guess is that this level is either set on a fixed amount of patients, or it's a bug with the game. I'm sorry, I just haven't experienced anything like this before. Can somebody help Rachel out?

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