The agency's performance (DHW 2022-23 Annual Report)

Performance at a glance

As at the end of June 2023, 18 per cent of the Department for Health and Wellbeing’s election commitments were reported as completed.

Table 1: Chief Executive KPI Comparison 2022-23 to 2021-22

Chief Executive KPI Comparison 2022-23 to 2021-22
Number Indicator Target Data available End of year 2022/23 End of Year 2021/22
1 Transfer of care <= 30 minutes (ambulance ramping) >=90% Jun-23 40.3% 42.9%
2 ED seen on time – Resuscitation >=100% Jun-23 92.1% 100%

ED seen on time – Emergency >=80% Jun-23 43.9% 52%
3 Elective surgery overdues <=300 Jun-23 2,411 2,939*
4 Consumer experience: overall patient satisfaction with involvement in care and treatment >=85% Mar-23 84.2% 86.3%
5 Potentially preventable admissions <=8% May-23 Not available 7.2%
6 Hospital acquired complication rate <=2.0% May-23 3.3% 3.0%
7 Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia infection rate <= 1 May-23 0.6 0.7
8 Hospital standardised mortality ratio Inlier May -23 Outlier Outlier
9 Average cost per National Weighted Activity Unit <=NEP Dec -23 Not available Not available
10 Executive tenure within SA Health** >= 3 years Jun-21 4.8 years 4.6 years

**Executive tenure refers to Local Health Network Chief Executive Officers and Department for Health and Wellbeing Deputy Chief Executives (within own Local Health Network/Department for Health and Wellbeing). Includes tenure of positions where Chief Executive Officers were in executive positions prior.

* Figure incorrectly reported in the 2021-22 DHW Annual Report as 5,878 and is corrected in this report.

Minor discrepancies may exist due coding delays and data being retrospectively updated.

Agency specific objectives and performance

The Department for Health and Wellbeing is working to deliver the government’s priorities to reduce ramping and improve patient flow whilst maintaining high quality and safe levels of care. This is being achieved through delivering the Government’s key election commitments, including:

  • Significant investment in SA Ambulance Service’s infrastructure and workforce
  • Recruitment of Doctors, Nurses, and Allied Health professionals in addition to workforce planning to address current and future workforce needs.
  • Improving demand management and patient flow with a substantial increase to hospital bed capacity through upgrades and expansion of existing infrastructure and the creation of new facilities across South Australia.
  • Boosting investment in mental health and drug and alcohol rehabilitation to assist with keeping South Australians out of hospital.

Investment in SA Ambulance Service

Construction of new SA Ambulance Headquarters and Station, staffed with two 24/7 16-person crews.

Site location for SA Ambulance Headquarters secured.

Recruitment of 350 additional paramedics and ambulance officers

Recruitment of 119 of the 350 additional SAAS staff, comprising paramedics, ambulance officers, emergency support service officers, dispatchers and clinical leads, however 141 addition SAAS staff have been recruited in total.

Ambulance Station rebuilds and expansion – Campbelltown, Gawler, Mount Barker and Victor Harbor

Design phase commenced for station rebuilds and expansions.

New Ambulance Stations – Edwardstown, Golden Grove, Norwood and Woodville

Sites for builds identified and design phase commenced for new ambulance stations.

Purchase an additional 36 ambulances.

11 new ambulances operational.

Workforce Recruitment and Planning

Develop a long-term plan to address workforce shortages, including identifying our state’s needs, gaps and risks, and planning for the training requirements we will need for services in both the short and long term.

SA Health Workforce Strategy is being developed and progressed to ensure a sustainable, well trained and competent workforce into the future.

212 additional nurses recruited and commenced by 31 December 2025.


  • Women’s and Children’s Hospital: 12 speciality cancer and mental health nurses recruited.

  • 76 additional nurses recruited and commenced by 31 December 2025, including 21 specialty nurses committed to under various commitments/grant funding with NGOs.

  • Country Doctors: 2 specialist doctors quickly employed and brought online from July 2022, progressing to meeting the full quota of 10 doctors in 2025.

  • Women’s and Children’s Hospital: 17 senior specialists, 15 advanced resident doctors, 12 resident doctors and 4 clinical academics positions funded and filled, including 1 FTE trainee paediatric rheumatologist, to commence within 2 years.

  • 15 resident doctors quickly employed and brought online from July, progressing to meeting the full quota of 50 doctors in 2025.

  • 5 additional paediatric psychiatrists, and 10 additional child psychologists employed over the next 4 years. The development of a psychiatry workforce plan.


Successful recruitment to meet government commitments including:

  • Over 75 additional nurses aligned to additional bed capacity
  • Women’s and Children’s Hospital: 6.0FTE Mental Health nurses and 6.0FTE Cancer nurses recruited
  • Additional specialist nurses recruited in line with election commitments
  • 2 additional country doctors employed in line with commitment timeframes
  • Additional Women’s and Children’s Hospital Consultants, Basic Trainees and Advanced Trainees employed
  • Additional resident doctors employed, in line with commitment timeframes
  • Additional psychiatrist and additional two psychologists employed in line with commitment timeframes

Improve Demand Management and Patient Flow

50 Additional Beds at the new Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

On 29 May 2023 the New Women’s and Children’s Hospital Master Plan for the SAPOL Barracks Site was publicly released. The Master Plan process has identified and evaluated the future connections between buildings and how facilities will be sited in the Precinct.

The Master Plan includes the distribution of the 50 additional beds and 20 future expansion beds. This means the new hospital will have a provision for 414 overnight beds – 76 more than the current Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

48 permanent sub-acute beds at Modbury Hospital.

48 beds established and operational at Modbury Hospital

16 permanent sub-acute beds at Gawler Hospital.

16 beds established and operational at Gawler Hospital.

New Mount Barker Hospital building and operational with construction commencing by early 2025.

Mount Barker Hospital: development of the Model of Care is underway and the Schedule of Accommodation is being prepared.

Yadu Health: in collaboration with the Federal Government, sign a funding agreement to deliver new health facilities, including dental and other allied health, for Yadu Health in Ceduna.

Yadu Health: funding agreement signed and grant funding provided.

Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation


  • 4 additional drug rehabilitation beds operation in the Port Augusta community.
  • 20 additional mental health community beds operational in 2023, and program funding contracts extended to three-year terms.


  • On 1 July 2023, service delivery of the four new alcohol and other drug rehabilitation beds began through Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council in Port Augusta.
  • Significant consultation has occurred on the mental health community beds and a Model of Care has been endorsed.

Corporate performance summary

Corporate Communications

From new hospitals to inspiring stories of care and vital public health messages, the Corporate Communications branch has shown how SA Health is delivering better health to all South Australians.

In 2022-23 the Corporate Communications branch responded to almost 700 media enquiries; participated in more than 300 interviews; coordinated almost 100 press conferences; and drafted more than 180 media releases.

The branch also developed and implemented 8 paid marketing campaigns to promote SA Health public health messaging and other initiatives, including vaccination programs (COVID-19, Influenza, Japanese encephalitis virus), mosquito bite prevention, COVID- 19 prevention (masks), emergency department alternatives, and an international and interstate recruitment campaign.

The branch provided communications support to a range of other communications plans and campaigns, such as the Aboriginal Health Care Framework, the Aboriginal Workforce Framework, SA Health Awards, Reconciliation Week, Healthy in the Heat, and Flood Safety.

SA Health’s Twitter followers grew 1.7 per cent to 68,763 and LinkedIn followers grew 15.1 per cent to 51,116. Instagram followers decreased by 5.1 per cent to 52,219 and Facebook followers decreased 0.7 per cent to 418,068. However, Facebook post performance increased drastically during 2022-23, with the average post reach increasing 117 per cent. In 2022-23, SA Health published 1,030 Facebook posts, 398 Instagram posts, 149 LinkedIn posts and 254 Twitter posts. During this period, 97,225 comments or direct messages from the community were monitored across all social media platforms.

The SA Health website was visited by 7.9 million users who viewed 23.5 million pages. The COVID-19 Chatbot ‘Zoe’ serviced over 139,000 users (-91 per cent), delivering more than 42,000 minutes of online help (29 days). Zoe answered over 25,000 unique user questions with a 67 per cent average positive satisfaction rating.

Procurement and Supply Chain Management

Procurement and Supply Chain Management work across 26 locations and are responsible for the overarching strategic planning governance and direction of SA Health’s spend and critical requirements for goods and services. During the financial year 2022-23, SA Health’s spend on goods and services was $2.8 billion.

Having opened in October 2021, the SA Health state-wide Distribution Centre has been leveraged by Procurement and Supply Chain Management to great success. Through the 2022-23 financial year, more than 1 million cartons of products were distributed to hospitals and ambulance stations across the state.

Procurement and Supply Chain Management is also responsible for the management of all SA Health state-wide contracts and panels as well as the management of the Royal Adelaide Hospital Public Private Partnership. The value of contracts managed by Procurement and Supply Chain Management is approximately $10 billion.

Procurement and Supply Chain Management has also become the first government department in the state to receive the Procurement Excellence Standard Certification from the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply. This achievement reinforced Procurement and Supply Chain Management’s position as a leader in procurement and demonstrated their ability to develop and deploy structured policies, processes, and tools that benefit both their stakeholders and supply base.

Corporate Correspondence

The Corporate Correspondence Team is responsible for the timely allocation, coordination and oversight of correspondence received by the Minister or Chief Executive, from members of the public, non-government organisations, other government agencies or members of parliament / legislative councils.

Between 1 July 2022 – 30 June 2023 Corporate Correspondence Team:

  • allocated a total of 5,010 Chief Executive and ministerial correspondence, a decrease of 41 per cent from the previous financial year.
  • finalised 8,786 pieces of correspondence (combination of self-generated, Chief Executive and ministerial correspondence), 27 per cent increase from 2021-22.

Employment opportunity programs

Aboriginal Employment Register

16 people listed on the Aboriginal Employment Register were employed.

Aboriginal Traineeship Program

Three people listed on the Aboriginal Employment Register were employed.

Agency performance management and development systems

Performance Review and Development process

The Department for Health and Wellbeing has established two designated Performance Review and Development cycles, for managers to undertake a Performance Review and Development conversation with their direct reports. The first cycle is from August to November and the second cycle from March to June.
Two manager training sessions were also facilitated for each cycle, to upskill managers in performance discussions.

As at 30 June 2023, 52 per cent of Department for Health and Wellbeing employees had registered a Performance Review and Development conversation in the 2022-23 financial year.

The Performance Review and Development Policy was reviewed consistent with Premier’s Direction and Commissioner for Public Sector Employment Guideline.

Respectful Behaviour (including bullying and harassment) Policy

The respectful behaviours and bullying and harassment policies have been updated and combined into the new ‘Respectful Behaviour (including management of bullying and harassment)’ Policy and an associated guideline. These documents, outlining the escalation procedure, were released on 23 May 2022.

The eLearning training package on bullying and harassment has been updated to align with the updated Respectful Behaviours Policy. The training is now titled ‘Respectful Behaviours: creating safe and supportive workplaces’.

An eLearning training program targeting managers, ‘Respectful Behaviour: Preventing and Managing Disrespectful Behaviour in the Workplace for Managers’, has been developed by Statewide Clinical Support Services.

This has been adapted for use across SA Health and will be made available to all LHNs/Health Services.

Both eLearning courses were launched to all staff in October 2022 and will be promoted annually in October to align with Safe Work month.

Staff Wellbeing

The mental health and wellbeing of our staff has remained an organisational priority throughout 2022-23, and is fundamental to achieving our goals, as well as benefiting our lives outside of work.

A collaborative system-wide approach to address staff wellbeing has commenced with the development of the ‘Advancing healthcare workforce wellbeing across SA Health’ plan. Following consultation, the plan outlines four key priorities for collaborative action over the next 12-18 months.

There are a number of initiatives and programs already underway across SA Health in local health networks and health services, as well as a new training and skills package that has been tendered for, to specifically support nurses and midwives.

SA Health Employee Assistance Program

The Employee Assistance Program plays an important role in SA Health’s ongoing commitment to being a mentally healthy workplace. Employee Assistance Program services enable all staff and their immediate family members access to free counselling services.

There were 147 new Department for Health and Wellbeing employee referrals for the 2022 23 financial year to date as at 31 March 2023. The Employee Assistance Program utilisation rate was 2.56 per cent as at 31 March 2023 (average new employee referrals per each quarter, for a headcount of 1,874).

Work health, safety and return to work programs

Nursing Security (Challenging Behaviours)

An election commitment was made to work with nurses to reduce the incidence of violence and aggression in SA Health workplaces. Part of this commitment relates to working with the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation to implement the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation 10-Point Plan. The Plan aims to end violence and aggression in our public hospitals and health services, guide risk mitigation associated with occupational violence and aggression within health care settings, and deliver the benefits that have been achieved in Victoria and other jurisdictions.

The election commitment includes a review of the SA Health Challenging Behaviour Strategic Framework against the requirements of the 10-Point Plan and establishing system wide governance to monitor ongoing implementation.

The review has been completed and an implementation plan has been developed to drive internal SA Health initiatives to achieve improvements and identify additional investment opportunities.

Injury Management Lump Sum Program

The Return to Work Act 2014 (SA) makes provision for the determination and/or payment of lump sum amounts for workplace injuries, specifically relating to economic loss (section 56) and non-economic loss (section 58). The redemption of weekly payments and future medical expenses is authorised by sections 53 and 54 of the Return to Work Act 2014.

For the period 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023, the Department for Health and Wellbeing recorded a total payment of $70,000 for Lump Sum Redemptions and $137,304 for Lump Sum Economic and Non-Economic Loss Payments.

An increasing trend overall to Economic Loss Payments are seen as older significant injuries reach Maximum Medical Improvement. (Entitlement to Economic Loss payments came into effect for injuries post 1 July 2015).

A combination of injuries (as per Summerfield decision) are having an impact on higher Whole Person Impairment assessments and associated entitlements.

Manual Task Risk Management System - Training

The Department for Health and Wellbeing provides state-wide manual task training to SA Health workers, and coordinates the SA Health Manual Tasks Local Facilitator Training Program. The SA Health MTLF Training Program underpins mandatory manual task practical training to reduce the risk of body-stressing injury.

At 30 June 2023, there are 1,133 active SA Health Manual Tasks Local Facilitators across SA Health providing training, induction and support to their colleagues to reinforce safe work practices.

Additional courses and refreshers have been scheduled to meet the increased need throughout 2023-24, with focus on rural local health networks.

200 new facilitators completed the two-day practical training and 353 current facilitators attended refresher sessions.

The SA Health Manual Tasks Local Facilitator Training Program and service provision are being reviewed to assess the long-term requirements to meet the ongoing needs of the workforce.

Seasonal Influenza Program

The aim of providing free influenza vaccinations is to protect staff from the flu and to reduce the potential for transmission of the flu virus between workers, consumers, visitors and family members.

The 2023 staff influenza vaccination programs made vaccination available to SA Health staff in mid-April 2023.

At 30 June 2023, the total number of 26,422 (53 per cent) SA Health employees have been administered a flu vaccination in 2023.

Workplace injury claims

WHS injury claims
Workplace injury claims Current year 2022-23 Past year 2021-22 % Change (+ / -)
Total new workplace injury claims 11 9 +22.2%
Fatalities 0 0 0.0%
Seriously injured workers* 0 0 0.0%
Significant injuries (where lost time exceeds a working week, expressed as frequency rate per 1000 FTE) 3.02 2.22** +36.0%

*number of claimants assessed during the reporting period as having a whole person impairment of 30% or more under the Return to Work Act 2014 (Part 2 Division 5)

**This figure varies slightly from the figure reported for 2021-22 in the previous Annual Report (i.e. 2.43) due to a change in methodology.

Work health and safety regulations

Work health and safety regulations
Work health and safety regulations Current year 2022-23 Past year 2021-22 % Change (+ / -)
Number of notifiable incidents (Work Health and Safety Act 2012, Part 3) 6 1 +500%
Number of provisional improvement, improvement and prohibition notices (Work Health and Safety Act 2012 Sections 90, 191 and 195) 0 0 0.0%

Return to work costs**

Work health and safety regulations
Return to work costs** Current year 2022-23 Past year 2021-22 % Change (+ / -)
Total gross workers compensation expenditure ($) $530,154 $516,341 +2.7%
Income support payments – gross ($) $175,162 $160,102 +9.4%

**before third party recovery

Data for previous years is available at Data SA.

Executive employment in the agency

  • Chief Executive = 1 position
  • PSYCH01 = 1 position
  • SAES 1 Level = 46 positions
  • SAES 2 Level = 10 positions

Data for previous years is available at Data SA.

The Office of the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment has a workforce information page that provides further information on the breakdown of executive gender, salary and tenure by agency.