WACHS Annual Report 2018-19: Governance

Our place in the wider health system

The WA health system consists of the Department of Health, five board-governed health service providers, the Quadriplegic Centre and Health Support Services. The Department of Health, led by the Director General, provides leadership and management of the health system as a whole, ensuring the delivery of high quality, safe and timely health services.

Each health service provider is governed by a Board appointed by the Minister for Health. Board members bring a wealth of experience in a range of fields such as health care, finance, law, and community and consumer engagement.

Health service providers are responsible and accountable for the delivery of safe, high quality, efficient and economical health services to their local areas and communities. They are the Child and Adolescent Health Service, East Metropolitan Health Service, North Metropolitan Health Service, South Metropolitan Health Service and the WA Country Health Service. While we are the State Government healthcare provider for country patients, we work in partnership with the Department of Health and other health service providers to ensure country patients have coordinated care when needed.

System-wide support to health service providers, including some technology, supply, workforce and financial services, are provided through a shared services arrangement by Health Support Services.

[Figure 1: Oganisational structure (PDF only) - WACHS Executive reports to the WACHS Chief Executive. WACHS Chief Executive reports to the Director General and the WACHS Board. Also reporting to the WACHS Board is the Finance Committee; the Audit and Risk Committee; and the Safety, Quality and Performance Committee. The Director General reports to the Minister for Health.]

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Minister

The WA Country Health Service is responsible to the Minister for Health, the Honourable Roger Cook MLA.

Accountable authority

The WA Country Health Service is a board governed statutory authority, where the Board is directly accountable to the public and the Minister for Health, working with the Director General of the Department of Health.

The Board Chair Professor Neale Fong is the reporting officer for the WA Country Health Service in 2018–19.

Enabling legislation

The WA Country Health Service was established as a board governed health service provider by the Health Services (Health Service Provider) Order 2016 made by the Minister under section 32 of the Health Services Act 2016. The WA Country Health Service is responsible to the Minister for Health and the Department CEO of the Department of Health (System Manager) for the efficient and effective management of the agency.

"By effectively harnessing technology, research, and the innovation capacity of our workforce we are working to create more connected regional and remote communities."

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WA Country Health Service board

The WA Country Health Service is a State Government statutory authority under the Health Services Act 2016. The legislation establishes the WA Country Health Service Board as being the responsible and accountable governing body for delivering safe, high-quality, efficient and economical health services to country Western Australian communities.

The WA Country Health Service Board is comprised of highly capable and committed professionals with a diverse range of experience across the fields of medicine and healthcare, business, finance, law and community and consumer engagement.

The Board works closely with the Chief Executive, who manages the day-to-day operations to deliver safe, high-quality and efficient health services to communities across regional Western Australia.

The Board is supported by three committees; the Audit and Risk Committee; Finance Committee; and Safety, Quality and Performance Committee.

These bodies assist the Board to perform its functions and provide support and advice to the Board in exercising its authority. Each committee is directly responsible and accountable to the Board for the exercise of its duties and responsibilities.

Note: Committees comprise Board members only and are not formally registered.

"The Board works closely with the Chief Executive, who manages the day-to-day operations to deliver safe, high-quality and efficient health services to communities across regional Western Australia."

View websiteRead more about the WA Country Health Service Board

[Images (PDF only): The WA Country Health Service Board meets with Hon Roger Cook MLA, Minister for Health.] 

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Professor Neale Fong (Chair)

Professor Neale Fong is a registered medical practitioner with over 35 years’ experience in medical and health care delivery and leadership roles. His strengths lie in reform and change management, developing strategic direction for healthcare organisations and leading over the entire spectrum of health policy and service delivery.

In addition to his role as Chair of the WA Country Health Service Board, Neale is also Chairman of Bethesda Health Care. A former Director General of the Department of Health (WA) and former CEO of St John of God Hospital Subiaco, Neale holds Masters degrees in Business Administration and Theological Studies, and Bachelor degrees in Medicine and Surgery. He consults to Curtin University on the establishment of Western Australia’s third medical school, is a Professor in Healthcare Leadership and is the National and WA President of the Australasian College of Health Service Management.

Ms Wendy Newman (Deputy Chair)

Wendy Newman currently runs a consultancy business and was recently Chief Executive Officer of the Wheatbelt Development Commission. She has extensive experience in government relations and individual, organisational and regional development. In addition to her role as Deputy Chair of the WA Country Health Service Board, she is a committee member of Regional Development Australia - Wheatbelt, Deputy Chair of Directions Workforce Solutions and Adjunct Research Fellow at University of Western Australia.

Wendy has extensive experience in working at all levels of government to develop strategy and drive reform. Wendy has a Masters in Commerce (Management), a Bachelor of Education and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Mr Alan Ferris

Alan Ferris has significant experience in Government and not-for-profit sectors and currently holds a senior management position at the City of Melville.  Alan has managed his own consultancy business and previously led the consulting team at the accounting firm BDO. Alan has worked in the senior executive service of the State Government in positions including General Manager of the Perth Theatre Trust and Acting Director General of the Department of Culture and the Arts. He also held the position of Chief Financial Officer at the Department of Culture and the Arts for seven years.

Alan is Chair of Palmerston Association Inc. a not for profit drug and alcohol service provider and is Chair of the Finance Committee for the WA Country Health Service. Alan also has significant local government experience having been Mayor of the Town of East Fremantle for six years and a Councillor for eight years. Alan holds Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting and Information Systems), is a Certified Practising Accountant and a Fellow of Leadership WA.

Mr Ferris chairs the WA Country Health Service Board Finance Committee.

Watch video - See how telehealth is supported by everyone at WACHS, especially our Board

Mr Michael Hardy

Michael Hardy is a lawyer who practiced for 40 years in a large national firm, a boutique firm and as a sole practitioner. Michael’s principal areas of practice were administrative, contract, planning, environmental and property law.

In addition to his position on the Board of WA Country Health Service, he is a member of the Contaminated Sites Committee and a member of the Metro Central Joint Development Assessment Panel. Michael is a former chairman and non-executive director of Fleetwood Limited.

Mr Hardy chairs the WA Country Health Service Board Audit and Risk Committee.

Dr Daniel Heredia

Dr Daniel Heredia is the Deputy CEO and Medical Director at Hollywood Private Hospital. He has previously worked as a Medical Advisor to Medicare Australia and prior to this worked in clinical medicine at various hospitals in Western Australia. Daniel is Chair of the Western Australian Registration Committee of the Medical Board of Australia and is a former Director of the Australian Medical Association (WA).

Daniel has completed a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, Master of Business Administration and Diploma of Public Health. He is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Medical Administrators and Fellow of the Australasian College of Health Service Management.

Dr Heredia chairs the WA Country Health Service Board Safety and Quality Committee.

Ms Kelly Howlett

Kelly Howlett is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Pilbara charity, Bloodwood Tree Association Inc. Bloodwood Tree is a wholly Aboriginal controlled organisation that provides services to those in need, disadvantaged, unemployed and affected by alcohol and drugs in the Port/South Hedland and broader Pilbara area.

Kelly has made her life and career in the Pilbara, and most notably served as Mayor of the Town of Port Hedland for almost seven years until 2016.

Kelly was inducted into the Western Australian Women’s Hall of Fame in March 2018 in recognition of her lengthy contribution to the Pilbara environment and community. Kelly has extensive governance experience and a keen interest in the social, natural environment and sustainability. Kelly has a Bachelor Science (Environment) /Bachelor Forest Science (Honours) and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Dr Kim Isaacs

Dr Kim Isaacs is a proud Yawuru, Karajarri and Noongar woman. She is currently Deputy Medical Director of the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Service (KAMS). Kim has a strong background in rural and remote medicine and Aboriginal primary health care and is a General Practitioner in remote clinics north and south of Broome.

Kim is a GP Supervisor and KAMS Medical Educator for Kimberley based General Practitioner Registrars and is also an Aboriginal health lecturer at the University of Notre Dame Australia. She is a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and a Fellow of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation. She enjoys mentoring and teaching medical students to work in rural medicine and is passionate about improving rural and remote health service delivery especially for remote communities.

Before starting a medical career, Kim completed a Bachelor of Commerce degree at University of Western Australia with a major in Accounting and Finance.

Dr Diane Mohen

Dr Diane Mohen was the former Medical Director of the State-wide Obstetric Support Unit and former WA Country Health Service clinical lead in obstetrics and gynaecology. She has had a career spanning more than  30 years, initially in general practice and then as a specialist obstetrician and gynaecologist and has worked tirelessly to improve the health of rural women and babies in Western Australia.

Dr Mohen was awarded the Public Service Medal in 2016 and was joint winner of the Western Australian Minister for Health’s Award in 2017. In addition to her role on the WA Country Health Service Board, she is a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist.

Ms Mary Anne Stephens

Mary Anne is a recently retired senior executive with more than 25 years’ experience leading teams within the financial services, information technology, aged care and not-for-profit sectors in Australia and the United States. She has extensive experience in strategy, finance, risk management, audit and governance. Mary Anne’s former position was the Chief Financial Officer for Amana Living.

Mary Anne is a Non-Executive Director of Diabetes WA and Council on the Ageing (COTA) WA, a Board Member of Venues West and an external member of the Football West Finance Sub-committee.She holds a Master of Accounting, is a Fellow of Chartered Professional Accountants Australia, a Fellow of the Institute of Public Accountants and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Ms Meredith Waters

Meredith brings a variety of working experience to the WA Country Health Service Board including her experience in justice as a Clerk of Courts alongside management experience gained in not for profit (NFP) community mental health support organisations, project officer roles in the community sector and her current volunteer board roles with several regional NFP organisations including Esperance Community Arts & 103.9HopeFM Community Radio.

She has been a community representative on the TeleMental Health Steering committee with WA Country Health Service and, in addition to her board role, is currently the Chairperson of the South-East District Health Advisory Council. Meredith also facilitates community drum circles, helping people to connect to their own rhythm, and with those around them.

Table 1: Board meeting attendance for 2018-19

NameNumber of meetingsMeetings attended
Full Board Meeting
Professor Neale Fong 11 10
Wendy Newman 11 11
Dr Daniel Heredia 11 10
Dr Kim Isaacs 11 9
Michael Hardy 11 9
Mary Anne Stephens 11 10
Meredith Waters 11 11
Alan Ferris 11 9
Kelly Howlett 11 9
Dr Diane Mohen 11 11
Finance Committee
Alan Ferris (Chair) 12 11
Wendy Newman 12 12
Mary Anne Stephens 12 11
Audit and Risk Committee
Michael Hardy (Chair) 11 9
Alan Ferris 3 3
Mary Anne Stephens 2 2
Meredith Waters 11 11
Kelly Howlett 8 6
Safety, Quality and Performance Committee
Dr Daniel Heredia (Chair) 6 6
Dr Kim Isaacs 6 6
Meredith Waters 6 6
Dr Diane Mohen 1 1

Our values in action

A workforce for the future

We know that to deliver the best outcomes for country communities we must continually build on our sustainable, flexible and adaptable workforce that reflects the diversity in each of our regions.

We are committed to our journey to a sustainable regional workforce built on ‘growing our own.’ This will take time, but we recognise that on our journey, internal training and development pathways will support a continuous learning culture that enables our local staff to achieve their growth potential. A number of programs are already underway to help build and nurture our own medical, nursing and management workforce so that leadership opportunities are available to staff in the bush, and also to promote the many benefits of living and working in regional WA.

Our medical internships and graduate nursing programs have been highly successful in recent years in ensuring we bring new talent to the bush. The results of those programs have confirmed that providing opportunities to experience working in regional areas has a strong translation to graduates and junior doctors taking up more permanent roles living and working in country WA.

We are also keen to ensure that our regional staff have access to opportunities that further develop their skills.

A new expression of interest pool has been opened inviting third and fourth tier managers who aspire to senior management and leadership roles within our service to apply. In a first for WA Country Health Service we have also established a customised Future Leaders’ Program designed to build our leadership and succession team now and for the future.

By developing the skills and expertise of our own staff we are ensuring that we are developing the potential of our future leaders in country WA. The three year Future Leaders Program was launched in early 2019 and the thirteen inaugural participants are ready for the challenge.

"I think the program will give me a better insight into the kind of leader I hope to be"
- Joanne Clark, Future Leaders’ Program  participant from the Great Southern 

The program consists of an academic component, professional development, mentoring and coaching support, along with workplace rotations in other roles or regions, to give participants exposure to both the theory and real world practice in health service leadership roles. This program is a WACHS first and has been designed with the Australasian College of Health Service Management to challenge and extend participants, inspiring them to embrace leadership opportunities and contribute to the future leadership of health care in regional and remote WA.

[Images (PDF only): Future Leaders Program participants visit Parliament House with the Minister for Health Hon Roger Cook MLA.]

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WA Country Health Service executive

The WA Country Health Service Executive is the principal advisory body to the Chief Executive of the WA Country Health Service and as such assists with the management of the organisation by providing advice to the Chief Executive on strategic, service and policy issues.

The Executive provides an important unifying link between executive management across organisational divisions.

  • WACHS Board
    • WACHS Chief Exceutive
      • Executive Director Strategy and Change*
      • Director Aboriginal Health Strategy
      • Executive Director Health Programs
      • Executive Director Medical Services
      • Executive Director Mental Health
      • Executive Director Nursing & Midwifery Services
      • Chief Operating Officer
        • Regional Director Pilbara
        • Regional Director Kimberley
        • Regional Director Goldfields
        • Regional Director South West
        • Regional Director Wheatbelt
        • Regional Director Midwest
        • Regional Director Great Southern
      • Executive Director Business Services
      • Executive Director Innovation & Development
      • Director Office of the Chief Executive
      • Director Infrastructure

Note: Senior Officers and their area of responsibility for the 2018-19 year are listed in Other Legal Disclosures.

*Subject to establishment

Did you know – the majority of the WACHS Board and Executive are women?

Watch video - Hear from some of the inspirational leaders making  a difference to country communities from across the WA Country Health Service

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Performance Management Framework

Outcome based management framework

To comply with its legislative obligation as a Western Australian government agency, the WA Country Health Service operates under the WA Health Outcome Based Management (OBM) Framework.

The framework describes how outcomes, services and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are used to measure agency performance towards achieving the relevant overarching whole-of-government goal. WA Health’s KPIs measure the effectiveness and efficiency of the WA Country Health Service in achieving the following outcomes:

  • Outcome 1: Public hospital based services that enable effective treatment and restorative healthcare for Western Australians.
  • Outcome 2: Prevention, health promotion and aged and continuing care services that help Western Australians to live healthy and safe lives.

KPIs and services delivered by the WA Country Health Service to achieve WA Health outcomes are outlined in Table 2 (next page).

Performance against these outcomes and activities are summarised in the Summary of KPIs section on page 56 and described in detail in the KPI section starting on page 116.

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Table 2: KPIs and services delivered by WACHS to achieve WA Health Outcomes

WA Government Goal: Strong Communities Safe communities and supported families.

WA Health Agency Goal: Delivery of safe, quality, financially sustainable and accountable healthcare for all Western Australians.

Outcome 1:
Public hospital based services that enable effective treatment and restorative healthcare for Western Australians.

Services delivered to achieve Outcome 1:

  1. Public hospital admitted services
  2. Public hospital emergency services
  3. Public hospital non-admitted services
  4. Mental health services

Key Performance Indicators for Outcome 1

Effectiveness Indicators:

  • Unplanned hospital readmissions for public hospital patients within 28 days for selected surgical procedures
  • Percentage of elective wait list patients waiting over boundary for reportable procedures
  • Healthcare-associated Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infections (HA-SABSI) per 10,000 occupied bed-days
  • Survival rates for sentinel conditions
  • Percentage of patients who discharged against medical advice
  • Percentage of live-born term infants with an Apgar score of less than 7 at 5 minutes post delivery
  • Readmissions to acute specialised mental health inpatient services within 28 days of discharge
  • Percentage of post discharge community care within 7 days following discharge from acute specialised mental health inpatient services

Efficiency Indicators:

  • Average admitted cost per weighted activity unit
  • Average Emergency Department cost per weighted activity unit
  • Average non-admitted cost per weighted activity unit
  • Average cost per bed-day in specialised mental health inpatient services
  • Average cost per treatment day of non-admitted care provided by mental health services

Outcome 2:
Prevention, health promotion and aged and continuing care services that help Western Australians to live healthy and safe lives.

Services delivered to achieve Outcome 2:

  1. Aged and continuing care services
  2. Public and community health services
  3. Community dental health services
  4. Small rural hospital services

Key Performance Indicators for Outcome 2

Effectiveness Indicators:

  • Response times for emergency air-based patient transport services (Percentage of emergency air-based inter-hospital transfers meeting the statewide contract target response time for priority 1 calls)
  • Percentage of patients who access emergency services at a small rural or remote Western Australian hospital and are subsequently discharged home

Efficiency Indicators:

  • Average cost per bed-day for specialised residential care facilities, flexible care (hostels) and nursing home type residents
  • Average cost per person of delivering population health programs by population health units
  • Cost per trip of patient emergency air-based transport, based on the total accrued costs of these services for the total number of trips
  • Average cost per trip of Patient Assisted Travel Scheme (PATS)
  • Average cost per rural and remote population (selected small rural hospitals)

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