Annual Report 2020-21 Barossa Hill Fleurieu Local Health Network

Hon Stephen Wade MLC
Minister for Health and Wellbeing

This annual report will be presented to Parliament to meet the statutory reporting requirements of Public Sector Act 2009, the Public Finance and Audit Act 1987 and the Health Care Act 2008 and the requirements of Premier and Cabinet Circular PC013 Annual Reporting.

This report is verified to be accurate for the purposes of annual reporting to the Parliament of South Australia.

Submitted on behalf of the Barossa Hills Fleurieu Local Health Network by:
Rebecca Graham
Chief Executive Officer
Barossa Hills Fleurieu Local Health Network 
Date 30 September 2021

From the Governing Board Chair

Barossa Hills Fleurieu Local Health Network embarked on our second year focussed on COVID-19, driven by our goal of ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our communities. We are incredibly proud that our proactive measures, the dedication of our staff, and responsiveness of our services, have helped contribute to South Australia’s currently and relatively enviable position.

In addition to our COVID-19 response, we have been proud to also channel our attention toward reinvigorating our values-based initiatives and foundational planning and development.

We launched our Strategic Intent 2020-2022 at the 2020 Annual Public Meeting. This document has formed the basis for our Strategic Plan development, which will now set our agenda and direction for the next four years.

Through extensive engagement with our staff, consumer groups and broader community, we are developing a plan built around agreed priorities, rich with the possibility of truly realising our vision of shining new light on the health, healing and wellbeing of our communities through the provision of extraordinary services and care.

The BHFLHN Governing Board and Executive came together to work through an appreciative enquiry approach - challenging ourselves to consider "why do you do what you do for BHFLHN - and why does it matter?" This fundamental question confirmed our shared passion for our communities, for making a difference, practicing empathy and building relationships.

The BHFLHN Strategic Plan will be launched alongside our Clinician Workforce Plan and Consumer and Community Engagement Plan at our Annual Public Meeting in November 2021.

The past year has also seen us welcome two new members to the BHFLHN Governing Board, Professor Jeff Fuller and Greg Russell. Their combined experience in rural health, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and business management has enriched our expertise and perspectives.

Our passion for building relationships is already guiding the priority work of our local health network, particularly when it comes to the important work of strengthening connections and earning the trust of First Nations peoples on whose land our health services reside and deliver services.

Our Governing Board and senior leadership staff have been meeting together with Aboriginal health service partners, along with community representatives and Elders to hear their experiences of accessing our services and to understand how we can better meet their health and wellbeing needs.

BHFLHN is currently in the process of creating our first Reconciliation Action Plan, which will provide a framework for our organisation to support the national reconciliation movement. It will provide practical actions that will drive our contribution to reconciliation and has a strong focus on developing respectful relationships and meaningful opportunities with Aboriginal and Torres Islander peoples.

This past year has also demonstrated, once again, that BHFLHN over-achieves in several key performance areas, particularly as they relate to emergency department seen on time, elective surgery and consumer experience. Furthermore, our Strathalbyn and Torrens Valley aged care facilities both responded to two unannounced accreditation visits with exceptional leadership and dedication from their staff. Both accreditations were rigorous and demanding, but both sites stepped up and demonstrated that we provide exceptional, safe and quality care within our services.

I also wish to highlight our exceptional financial performance, which has continued to strengthen over the two years since our formation. BHFLHN is one of the strongest financially performing local health networks in South Australia.

These achievements combine to form a powerful launchpad for the coming year. I thank the Directors and Executive for their continued adaptability, resourcefulness and dedication to their staff and communities.

On behalf of the BHFLHN Governing Board, I express our sincere gratitude to our patients and consumers, staff, service partners and stakeholders for their trust, support and patience over what has, and continues to be, an extraordinary time for health and for our communities.

Carol Gaston AM
Governing Board Chair
Barossa Hills Fleurieu Local Health Network

From the Chief Executive

The past year has seen us mature as a health network and our connection to one another strengthen, as together we have continued to navigate the challenges of a global pandemic.

Our COVID-19 testing and vaccination programs have seen us make a significant contribution to South Australia's public health strategy. We have conducted more COVID-19 tests than any other single South Australian local health network, excluding SA Health sponsored drive through clinics such as Victoria Park and he Repat Health Precinct.

Our vaccine program has also been extraordinarily successful. During 2020-21 we had delivered 7,415 vaccinations. Over 3,500 vaccinations have been administered on Kangaroo Island, as a result of a successful partnership with the Royal Flying Doctor Service, the Kangaroo Island Council and SA Health.

Our critical role as a peri-urban health network has seen us make a significant impact on the ramp-down of metropolitan hospitals, involving the transfer or repatriation of patients, including to our long-stay sites from metropolitan hospitals, making available critical bed space, whilst managing activity growth at our peri-urban sites. The role BHFLHN has in supporting the system is critical and we will continue to develop ways in which to support activity demand and management across the system.

Never has the resilience and dedication our staff been more evident – including the large portion of our staff who have continued the important work of business as usual while many of their colleagues were taken offline to dedicate their expertise and focus to COVID-19.

While delivering this pandemic response, our health network continues to aspire to be values-centred at every level, with our organisational values of trust, respect, integrity, collaboration and kindness guiding every part of our planning, decision-making and culture.

Despite all the challenges we have faced over the past year, I am particularly proud that our commitment to developing our culture and leadership has remained steadfast. Through our culture and leadership program, which commenced in October 2019, our executive team and senior managers have been able to build trust, foster bonds, and find a space to express their vulnerabilities throughout a period that tested all of us in precedented ways.

'Sustainable productivity' was identified as a collective challenge, and these themes have been developed and courageously explored through a combination of coaching circles, debriefing sessions and story circles; which enables deeper connection and relationships, and build psychological safety, where stories were shared about progress in stretching leadership ‘edges’ and improving leadership effectiveness.

Infrastructure and capital development remain an area of high activity, with multiple projects underway including major investments in Strathalbyn Residential Aged Care and surgical theatre upgrades in Gawler and Kapunda.

The emergency department at Mount Barker District Soldiers' Memorial Hospital is undergoing a $8.6 million upgrade to expand current emergency service capability and deliver high quality and contemporary health services for the people of Mount Barker and surrounding communities.

Gawler Health Service looks forward to its own emergency department upgrade in 2022, as does Southern Fleurieu Health Service, which has recently received additional Federal and State funding that will enable the expansion of renal dialysis services and deliver essential upgrades to the Central Sterile Services Department, ensuring better healthcare, closer to home, for residents of the Southern Fleurieu.

Master planning of the Kangaroo Island Health Service continues with an exciting milestone recently celebrated with the acquisition of land adjacent to the hospital, worth $1.5 million, which will allow us to explore future development opportunities to maximise health service delivery and ensure we can continue to provide high quality health and aged care services for Kangaroo Island residents in the future.

Another area of our activity this year that brings me enormous pride is our work in embedding a Yarning Circle model of engagement and connection, led by outstanding members of our network's Aboriginal workforce. This format of deep-listening and cultivation of respect has further supported the development of our Consumer and Community Engagement Strategy, which has actively centred the voices and experiences of First Nations people.

This journey of engagement ultimately led to the co-design of a stunning piece of artwork, led by artist-collaborators, Ngadli Arts, creating a piece named ‘Ngallugu Wambana Yunggu’ – Narrunga meaning ‘[to] walk as one and share our experiences’. We are thrilled to be launching this beautiful artwork as part of our Consumer and Community Engagement Strategy in the coming months.

Rebecca Graham
Chief Executive
Barossa Hills Fleurieu Local Health Network