Annual Report 2021-22 - Department for Health and Wellbeing


The Hon Chris Picton MP

Minister for Health and Wellbeing

This annual report will be presented to Parliament to meet the statutory reporting requirements of the Public Sector Act 2009, the Public Sector Regulations 2010, the Public Finance and Audit Act 1987 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 Department for Health and Wellbeing by:

Dr Robyn Lawrence
Chief Executive

From the Chief Executive

I am pleased to present the 2021-22 Annual Report for the Department for Health and Wellbeing (DHW), South Australia.

This year has been a challenging one for the South Australian health system as we continue to manage the ongoing impact of COVID-19 across the state. The dedication and commitment from all SA Health staff to continue to be responsive, flexible and work collaboratively helped to minimise the health impact and maintain an effective health protection response to the virus across our community.

While the system over the last 12 months has remained under substantial pressure, we have managed a significant pandemic response in both our acute hospital settings and in the community where a range of services are still being provided. The public health response has been enormous and has seen the establishment of new areas of work that we have never before needed to implement: the excellent quarantine and isolation program supported by Medi-hotels; mass testing sites, mass vaccination clinics, a growing virtual care service and COVID-19 Care Clinics.

We are in a transition phase, moving from the emergency response to living with COVID-19 and establishing a new way of working that reflects the innovation and rapid solutions that have been the hallmark of the SA response since early 2020.

The South Australian Government’s election commitments and our focus to strengthen the positive partnerships we have forged allow us to take on some core structural challenges to how our public health system functions.

One of our key priority areas is addressing delayed transfer of care, or hospital ramping, and on managing demand across the entire healthcare community, not just relying on our public hospital Emergency Department front door. The increased funding provisions for expanded ambulance services, more doctors, nurses and paramedics, more beds, and significant upgrades of hospitals to enable additional bed capacity across the state.

I am optimistic that the ongoing strategic priorities within the SA Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2020-2025 will continue to improve healthcare delivery across the state with a focus on; collaborative efforts across the system in keeping people healthy, prevention, promotion and early intervention, as well as expanding service capacity in community and virtual settings to enable people to receive care as close to home as possible.

As I start my journey as the Chief Executive for DHW, I want to acknowledge the extensive efforts from all staff within the Department who have been involved in the ongoing response to the pandemic, and to recognise the hard work that everyone has done to keep delivering and progressing the immediate and long-term strategies that sustain the South Australian public health system now and into the future.

Dr Robyn Lawrence
Chief Executive
Department for Health and Wellbeing