Overview: about the agency (DHW 2021-22 Annual Report)

Our strategic focus

Our Purpose

The Department for Health and Wellbeing (DHW) is responsible for providing system leadership and developing the vision, direction and long-term strategies that will sustain the South Australian public health system, now and in the future.

The DHW, through the Chief Executive, is responsible to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing (the Minister). The department provides expert health, public health and wellbeing advice, supporting the Minister and Chief Executive in exercising their powers and functions.

Our Vision

The Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2020-2025 establishes a strong vision that South Australians experience the best health and wellbeing in Australia.

To achieve this vision, a strategic focus on prevention, protection, innovation, and sustainability will be maintained across SA Health, with the primary objective to improve the health and wellbeing of all South Australians.

Five principle themes support SA Health’s achievement of the vision and strategic direction. The themes form the foundation for the deliverable actions identified in the SA Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2020-2025 and informs the principle rationale for determining, planning, and developing new improvement activities, initiatives and projects:

  • Together – working in partnership to develop patient-centred solutions and service improvements
  • Trusted – providing safe, reliable, and high-quality treatment and care
  • Targeted – addressing priority health needs and disparities with the right evidence, motivation, and interventions
  • Tailored – meeting the diverse and complex needs of individuals
  • Timely – optimising health and wellness outcomes by delivering timely and appropriate health care.

Our Values

The South Australian Public Sector values articulate our commitment to each other, consumers and the community. These are Service, Professionalism, Trust, Respect, Collaboration and Engagement, Honesty and Integrity, Courage and Tenacity and Sustainability. Further, to supporting these values, SA Health upholds Care and Kindness values that underpin how we treat each other and our patients, and work together to provide services.

Our functions, objectives and deliverables

The DHW supports the delivery of public health services, formulates health and wellbeing policies and programs, facilitates public and consumer consultation on health issues, and monitors the performance of South Australia’s health system by providing timely advice, research, and administrative support.

The DHW is the health system leader, in the context of the department’s relationship with the Local Health Networks (LHNs), SA Ambulance Service (SAAS) and other portfolio entities. The DHW’s aim is to improve whole-of-system capability and performance through alignment, culture, partnership, connectivity, and collaboration.

Led by the Chief Executive, the department is responsible for:

  • Supporting and advising the Minister and government on strategic policies and directions
  • Coordinating Parliamentary and Cabinet briefing processes
  • Statutory reporting requirements
  • Intergovernmental relations
  • Participating in, and supporting the Minister to participate in, national reforms via national councils and committees
  • Regulatory and licencing functions.

As the system leader for the delivery of health services, the department will:

  • Develop the vision, direction and long-term planning strategy to sustain the health system
  • Provide strategic leadership, planning and direction for health care services in SA
  • Guide, inform and fulfil the planning and commissioning cycle including
    • Making recommendations for the allocation of funding from the health portfolio budget to health service providers
    • Enter into Service Agreements with health service providers outlining budget, activity and performance measures
    • Monitor performance and take remedial action when performance does not meet expected standards
    • Demonstrate strong financial management and accountability that prioritises investment in high value, evidence informed service responses and system sustainability at a local level
  • Arrange for the provision of health services by contracted health entities
  • Oversee, monitor and promote improvements in the safety and quality of health services
  • Prioritise and set system-wide interventions including regulations, policy directives, guidelines, funding, performance and programs
  • Support, promote and lead the delivery of relevant system-wide strategies, policies, plans, and innovation
  • Build system-wide collaboration and interagency stakeholder networks
  • Foster a leadership culture that supports accountability, transparency, collaboration and encourages innovation.

Our organisational structure

Organisational Chart 2021/22 (PDF 282KB)

Changes to the agency

During 2021-22 there were no changes to agency’s structure and objectives as a result of internal reviews or machinery of government changes.

Structures and functions were established/revised to support the department’s commitment to minimising the impact of COVID-19 on the South Australian community.

Our Minister

Hon Chris Picton MP is the Minister for Health and Wellbeing in South Australia.

The Minister oversees health, wellbeing, mental health, ageing well, substance abuse and suicide prevention.

Our Executive team (as at 30 June 2022)

  • Lynne Cowan is the Acting Chief Executive.
  • Professor Nicola Spurrier is the Chief Public Health Officer.
  • Dr John Brayley is the Chief Psychiatrist, responsible for functions relating to the administration of the Mental Health Act 2009 and the standard of mental health care in South Australia.
  • Don Frater is the Deputy Chief Executive, System Leadership and Design.
  • Helen Chalmers is the Acting Deputy Chief Executive, Commissioning and Performance.
  • Julienne TePohe is the Deputy Chief Executive, Corporate and System Support Services.
  • Bret Morris is the Chief Digital Health Officer, responsible for the department’s information technology strategy.

Legislation administered by the agency

The department plays a role in administering all legislation committed to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing with some legislation administered in conjunction with other public sector agencies:

  • Advance Care Directives Act 2013
  • Aged Citizens Clubs (Subsidies) Act 1963
  • Ageing and Adult Safeguarding Act 1995
  • Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 1988
  • Blood Contaminants Act 1985
  • Consent to Medical Treatment and Palliative Care Act 1995
  • Controlled Substances Act 1984
  • Food Act 2001
  • Gene Technology Act 2001
  • Health and Community Services Complaints Act 2004
  • Health Care Act 2008
  • Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (South Australia) Act 2010
  • Health Professionals (Special Events Exemption) Act 2000
  • Health Services Charitable Gifts Act 2011
  • Mental Health Act 2009
  • National Health Funding Pool Administration (South Australia) Act 2012
  • Prohibition of Human Cloning for Reproduction Act 2003
  • Public Intoxication Act 1984
  • Research Involving Human Embryos Act 2003
  • Retirement Villages Act 2016
  • Safe Drinking Water Act 2011
  • South Australian Public Health Act 2011
  • Termination of Pregnancy Act 2021
  • Tobacco and E-Cigarette Products Act 1997
  • Transplantation and Anatomy Act 1983

Pertinent updates to legislation during 2021-22 include:

  • The Termination of Pregnancy Act 2021 and associated Termination of Pregnancy Regulations 2022 were gazetted 23 June 2022 and came into effect on 7 July 2022. This legislation recognises that abortion is a health issue - and not part of the criminal law.  The Termination of Pregnancy Act 2021 will modernise termination of pregnancy law and practice and improve the efficiency of health service provision and access, particularly in regional, rural and remote areas.
  • The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (South Australia) (Telepharmacy) Amendment Act 2021 was passed in October 2021 and came into operation on 4 November 2021. The Act makes permanent and clarifies the legal provisions for the authorising of telepharmacy in South Australia
  • From the 24 May 2022 amendments to the Public Health Act 2011 have been enacted that have enabled the Major Emergency Declaration to be lifted while ensuring important public health measures are retained.  Under the amendments to the Public Health Act 2011 existing requirements will continue to apply. These requirements are essential to protect the South Australian community and ensure the health system’s resources can manage COVID-19 cases.

Other related agencies (within the Minister’s area/s of responsibility)

The public sector agencies listed below are responsible for reporting information about their activities and operations in their own annual report submitted to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing:

  • Barossa Hills Fleurieu Local Health Network
  • Central Adelaide Local Health Network
  • Commission on Excellence and Innovation in Health
  • Controlled Substances Advisory Council
  • Country Health Gift Fund Health Advisory Council Inc.
  • Regional Health Advisory Councils (39 across South Australia)
  • Eyre and Far North Local Health Network
  • Flinders and Upper North Local Health Network
  • Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner
  • Health Performance Council
  • Health Services Charitable Gifts Board
  • Limestone Coast Local Health Network
  • Northern Adelaide Local Health Network
  • Pharmacy Regulation Authority of South Australia
  • Riverland Mallee Coorong Local Health Network
  • SA Ambulance Service
  • SA Ambulance Service Volunteers’ Health Advisory Council
  • SA Medical Education and Training Health Advisory Council
  • South Australian Public Health Council
  • Southern Adelaide Local Health Network
  • Wellbeing SA
  • Women’s and Children’s Health Network
  • Veterans’ Health Advisory Council
  • Yorke and Northern Local Health Network