The Department for Health and Wellbeing (the department, 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 department, through the Chief Executive, is responsible to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing (the Minister).The department provides expert health and wellbeing advice, supporting the Minister and Chief Executive in exercising their powers and functions.
Our vision and strategic themes
The Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2020-2025 establishes a strong vision that South Australians experience the best health and wellbeing in
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 Health and Wellbeing Strategy. These should form 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.
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. Care and Kindness are SA Health values that underpin how we treat each other, working together to provide services.
Our Functions, Objectives and Deliverables
The department 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 department has assumed the role as 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 department’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
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 stakeholder networks
Foster a leadership culture that supports accountability, transparency, collaboration and encourages innovation.
During 2019-20, the following changes were applied to the agency’s structure and objectives as a result of internal reviews or machinery of government changes:
The transition of some business units to Local Health Networks and Shared Services SA was finalised as a result of governance reforms that commenced in 2018-19.
Wellbeing SA was established initially as an operating entity within the department during 2018-19, reporting to the Chief Executive. During 2019-20, Wellbeing SA was established as an attached office under the Public
Sector (Administrative Units) Proclamation 2019.
Wellbeing SA focuses on prevention, health promotion and primary health care. Wellbeing SA brings together the functions and services of Home Hospital, Prevention and Population Health, Mental Health and Wellbeing, including the Mental Health Commission.
Mental Health Commission
The administration of the South Australian Mental Health Commission was transferred to Wellbeing SA in 2019-20. Three new Mental Health Commissioners were appointed to public office by His Excellency, the Governor in Executive Council under section 68 of the
Constitution Act 1934 on 6 January 2020. As a result of these reforms the administrative unit of the South Australian Mental Health Commission was abolished on 5 December 2019, previously established as a government department under the Public Sector Act 2009.
Commission on Excellence and Innovation in Health (the Commission)
The Commission was established initially as an operating entity within the department during 2018-19, reporting to the Chief Executive. During 2019-20, The Commission was established as an attached office under the Public
Sector (Administrative Units) Proclamation 2019.
The Commission on Excellence and Innovation in Health provides leadership and advice on clinical excellence and innovation.
Hon Stephen Wade MLC 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
Dr Christopher McGowan is the 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 SA
Don Frater is the Deputy Chief Executive, System Leadership and Design
Lynne Cowan is the 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:
Directives Act 2013
Citizens Clubs (Subsidies) Act 1963
and Adult Safeguarding Act 1995
Reproductive Treatment Act 1988
Contaminants Act 1985
to Medical Treatment and Palliative Care Act 1995
Substances Act 1984
Technology Act 2001
and Community Services Complaints Act 2004
Care Act 2008
Practitioner Regulation National Law (South Australia) Act 2010
Professionals (Special Events Exemption) Act 2000
Services Charitable Gifts Act 2011
Health Act 2009
Vehicle Accidents (Lifetime Support Scheme) Act 2013
Health Funding Pool Administration (South Australia) Act 2012
of Human Cloning for Reproduction Act 2003
Intoxication Act 1984
Involving Human Embryos Act 2003
Villages Act 2016
Drinking Water Act 2011
Australian Public Health Act 2011
and E-Cigarette Products Act 1997
and Anatomy Act 1983
Pertinent updates to legislation during 2019-20 include:
The revised Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (South Australia) (Remote
Area Attendance) AmendmentAct 2017 (known as Gayle’s Law) became operational on 7 November 2019.
Additions to the South Australian Public Health Act
No Jab No Play amendments were made on 1 January 2020 requiring early childhood services to collect and retain immunisation records of all children enrolled, and to provide these to the Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO) on request
Amendments to the South Australian Public Health Act
2011 were made to provide the CPHO with additional powers to respond quickly and effectively in order to control the spread of infectious diseases, such as COVID-19.
On 15 March 2020, a public health emergency in relation to the transmission of COVID-19 was declared for fourteen days in South Australia pursuant to section 87 of the South Australian Public Health Act 2011
Emergency Response Act 2020 made temporary amendments to the South Australian Public Health Act 2011 on 9 April 2020, to support the Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Became a notifiable and controlled notifiable condition under the South
Australian Public Health Act 2011 from 28 January 2020.
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
Central Adelaide Local Health Network Health Advisory Council (Governing Council)
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 SA)
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
Northern Adelaide Local Health Network Health Advisory Council (Governing Council)
Office for Ageing Well
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
Southern Adelaide Local Health Network Health Advisory Council (Governing Council)
Women’s and Children’s Health Network
Women’s and Children’s Health Network Health Advisory Council (Governing Council)
Veterans’ Health Advisory Council
Yorke and Northern Local Health Network
You can search through to find related information.
Department for Health and Wellbeing Annual Report 2019-20
PDF 6.91 MB
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