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Major reforms proposed for WA health system

01 March, 2016

Significant reforms are proposed for Western Australia's health system with the introduction of the new Health Services Bill 2016 into State Parliament.

Health Minister Kim Hames said the Bill - which would replace the Hospitals and Health Services Act 1927 - would provide the legal framework for clear roles, responsibilities and accountabilities at all levels of the system.  It also provides a devolved model of governance that would enable decision-making closer to patient care.

"There are about 2.6 million people living in Western Australia which is significantly larger than the size of the State's population when the original Hospitals and Health Services Act was enacted," Dr Hames said.

"Our public health system is now too large and complex for the current model of centralised governance.

"The State Government has invested more than $7 billion in world-class infrastructure, and these changes will allow staff to continue delivering safe and quality health care into the future."

Key elements of the Bill include:

  • establishing the Director General of the Department of Health as the System Manager responsible for the overall management, performance and strategic direction of WA Health
  • establishing the North Metropolitan; South Metropolitan; East Metropolitan; WA Country; and Child and Adolescent Health Services as separate, board-governed statutory authorities responsible for the delivery of health services in local areas and communities
  • establishing Health Support Services as a chief executive-governed statutory authority
  • establishing Health Services and Health Support Services as separate employing authorities
  • legal requirements for health service providers to establish service agreements with the Director General which set out budgets, performance measures and operational targets
  • the Mental Health Commission will purchase mental health services and drug and alcohol health services through agreements with the Director General and health service providers.

"This Bill supports WA Health's vision to deliver a safe, high quality and sustainable health system for all West Australians," the Minister said.

"It will provide for more responsive, flexible and innovative health services to the community, and greater transparency and assurance of safe and quality health services in WA.

"We need to respond to increasing demand from a growing and ageing population, and enhance performance, innovation and governance within our system to ensure we deliver better health care and better value to the Western Australian community."

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