Department of Health reform providing better governance and accountability

The Health Services Act 2016 came into effect on 1 July 2016. The new legislation created five Health Service Providers as separate statutory authorities, governed by boards, which are legally responsible and accountable for the  versight of hospital and health service delivery in the region. The legislation also established the Department of Health as the ‘system manager’, responsible for the overall management, performance and strategic direction of WA Health.

The department took a proactive approach to managing the change and devolution of governance arrangements to the Health Service Providers. This included establishing a reform team, developing a specific induction program for board members and providing central support while transitioning responsibility for notifying misconduct under the Corruption, Crime and Misconduct Act 2003 (CCM Act).

Proper planning is integral to identifying and addressing risks associated with change. Induction programs, like the one developed for the boards, assists in building ethical capability. Induction programs also provide an opportunity to clarify roles and expectations—ensuring everyone is on the same ‘ethical page’. Health’s induction drew on the expertise of integrity bodies such as the Public Sector Commission which provided advice to the reform team on governance arrangements. The Public Sector Commissioner also personally presented at all five board inductions, where he provided an overview of the public sector accountability framework and his role under the CCM Act.

WA Health governance reform

Four areas of reform were undertaken to modernise the governance of WA Health to enable greater accountability and decision-making closer to service delivery and patient care.

  • The Health Services Act 2016 commenced operation 1 July 2016, replacing the Hospitals and Health Services Act 1927
  • A functional review and readiness assessment of non-clinical functions was undertaken
  • The Department of Health was established as the ‘system manager’
  • Health Services and Health Support Services were established as Health Service Providers

What are the benefits?

  • Improved accountability and transparency to the community
  • More responsive, flexible and innovative health services to the community
  • Greater assurance of safety and quality of health services
  • A more sustainable health system

Source: Department of Health, 2016.

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Page last updated 19 October 2017