Annual report 2017/18: Foreword

Board Chair, Professor Neale Fong

Once again it has been an extremely rewarding year for the WA Country Health Service as we work to meet the healthcare needs of our vast and diverse communities. From nursing posts and outreach services, to child health clinics and bustling regional hospitals, the WA Country Health Service plays an important role in the lives of people in our country communities. This year’s annual report highlights our many achievements which I feel immensely proud of.

With approximately 450,000 outpatient appointments attended, almost 400,000 emergency visits, just under 4600 births and over 124,000 hospital admissions and discharges, it has been a busy year of activity for country hospitals and health services. Our staff across the state have continued to provide quality care in some of the most complex and geographically dispersed health services in the world. Importantly, they have had the opportunity to utilise technology we now have available to provide care in new and innovative ways to provide their communities with access to the best possible healthcare.

In this second year of Board operations we have again seen the progress of significant change within the WA health system. In particular we have had the opportunity to consider what a sustainable health system means for Western Australia. The WA Country Health Service Board has led the organisation through a process to develop our recommendations to the Sustainable Health Review and we have harnessed that opportunity to emphasise areas which are critically important to country communities including patient pathways and equitable access to care.

Our staff provide quality care in some of the most complex and geographically dispersed country health services in the world...

I am proud of the way in which our organisation has articulated the significant challenges facing country communities and the critical importance of taking steps to ensure a sustainable health system into the future – one that recognises and enhances the delivery of services to country Western Australians whilst ensuring the ongoing viability and sustainability of those services so that they are responsive to the needs of country communities into the future. The Panel’s Final Report is due in November 2018 and the Board and I look forward to continuing to advance the aims of the review.

The work of the Board committees for Finance; Safety, Quality and Performance; and Audit and Risk has evolved and matured. This year there has been an increased focus on safety, quality and clinical performance. We see the development of strategies in key priority areas such as cancer, maternal and newborn care and kidney health as positive steps in this regard.

The Board has again made it a priority to ensure that it conducts its work in the regions, with every second monthly Board meeting held at a regional site. This provides an opportunity for the Board to meet with staff and country communities and engage directly with our regional clinical services and hear ideas on how we can further improve operational performance and patient care. In our travels we have been consistently impressed by the dedication of our staff and their willingness to seek out innovation and best practice in the work they do.

Innovation can also be seen in our capital works program that is replacing the legacy of ageing health infrastructure with contemporary technology-enabled healthcare hubs. The Board has had the opportunity to view many of the health service infrastructure developments and see how health care design can deliver contemporary and culturally secure care environments that are reflective of country landscapes.

The completion of redevelopments through our capital works program, such as the Harvey Health Service, Collie Health Service and the Esperance Health Campus maternity unit are among many achievements this year. We have continued the expansion of the Emergency Telehealth Service and the development of telehealth across our services. This included the introduction of a 24/7 emergency telehealth service and a pilot of afterhours emergency telehealth mental health services, demonstrating our commitment to providing access to high quality and contemporary care.

We will continue our focus on supporting our Executive team to pursue excellence and to transition from a high-performing health service to a leader in the delivery of rural and remote health care in Australia and the world. We have laid strong foundations that will serve us well as we continue the process for setting our strategic direction for 2018 and beyond and I look forward to sharing that journey with you.

PROFESSOR NEALE FONG
CHAIR
WA COUNTRY HEALTH SERVICE BOARD

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Chief Executive, Jeffrey Moffet

Notwithstanding the challenges that come with working across vast distances, our staff excel in providing health care to the communities in which they live and work. This year we have progressed many initiatives which deliver improved care access to our patients including the expansion of the Emergency Telehealth 24/7 service, expansion of the meet and greet service and infrastructure projects in no less than sixty of our facilities. Achieving these milestones and the benefits to the community gives an extraordinary sense of satisfaction in the work we do.

Our staff strive to provide exemplary care 24 hours a day, seven days a week and they do so with a passion and commitment that makes me proud to lead this critical service for country people. We also remain vigilant in our aims to continually improve the care we provide and in the ongoing development of our services by learning from our experiences and from the feedback we receive. It is a privilege to lead a workforce who come to work each day to care for people and support their journey to recovery. This year’s Annual Report showcases just a handful of our highlights and achievements.

At the 2017 WA Health Excellence Awards we, in partnership with Diabetes WA and the WA Primary Health Alliance, were awarded the Director General’s Award for the Diabetes Telehealth Program. I was also pleased to see Dr Diane Mohen as joint winner of the Minister for Health’s Award for Outstanding Commitment to a Healthier WA and Steph Waters for the Jill Porteous Memorial Award for Safety and Quality.

Among the many staff who have received personal recognition throughout the year I congratulate Brett Hayes, Nurse Manager Specialist Palliative Care Wheatbelt. Brett was named WA Nurse of the Year and received the Award for Excellence in Regional and Remote Nursing in the Western Australian Nursing and Midwifery Awards for his work in using tele-palliative care to help more country people die at home, surrounded by their loved ones.

I also extend my congratulations to all of our team at Geraldton Hospital, which has been named the nation's most outstanding regional hospital at the Australian Patients Association (APA) awards. The Midwest was one of the first regions to ‘go live’ with Patient Opinion and the team has taken full advantage of the insights and feedback the application provides to ensure that patient feedback is utilised. This is critical to providing a voice in our communities and tangible feedback from which we can continually improve.

The APA, an independent not-for-profit organisation dedicated to protecting the rights and interest of patients across Australia, has recognised Geraldton Hospital as consistently demonstrating an unwavering commitment to public feedback through its use of the Patient Opinion site. As you will see in this report, Patient Opinion is now in place for all of our sites across the State and WA Country Health Service hospitals make up a significant part of the 'top-ten' registered users of this innovative platform across the nation.

The executive team and our regional staff have enjoyed engaging with our Board members and highlighting the services, facilities, rewards and challenges of delivering health services in the country and discussing the key challenges and opportunities we face in these communities.

Our Board membership in 2017-18 includes nine diverse and experienced professionals who are highly respected in their individual fields and across the community. I sincerely thank our Board Chair, Professor Neale Fong, Ms Wendy Newman (Deputy Chair), Mr Michael Hardy, Dr Daniel Heredia, Dr Kim Isaacs, Mr Joshua Nisbet, Mrs Mary Anne Stephens, Mr Alan Ferris and Ms Meredith Waters for their support and fervor in supporting the delivery and development of health services in the bush. I sincerely thank retiring Board member Mr Joshua Nisbet, for his commitment, energy and corporate expertise over the past two years.

In closing, I would also like to thank the communities and our service partners in regional and remote Western Australia for their ongoing support of our staff and our health service. I commend the 2017-18 WA Country Health Service Annual Report to you.

JEFFREY MOFFET
CHIEF EXECUTIVE
WA COUNTRY HEALTH SERVICE

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Our Vision, Mission and Strategic Directions

The WA Country Health Service Strategic Directions 2015–18 focuses on the strategic directions to be achieved consistent with our Vision, Purpose, Values, and Guiding Principles.

Key strategies have focused on improving health and the experience of care, valuing consumers, staff and partnerships, as well as governance, performance and sustainable services.

The WA Country Health Service Board has focused clearly on its role setting the strategic directions for WACHS for the future, and to this end, has commenced the development of a new strategic plan to commence in 2019.

The plan will allow us to set a clear vision for the organisation into the future, while building on our many successes and achievements over time.

VISION

Healthier country communities through partnerships and innovation.

PURPOSE

The WA Country Health Service improves country people’s health and wellbeing through access to quality services and by supporting people to look after their own health.

VALUES

Community – making a difference through teamwork, cooperation, a ‘can do’ attitude, and country hospitality.

Compassion – listening and caring with empathy, respect, courtesy and kindness.

Quality – creating a quality health care experience for every consumer, continual improvement, innovation and learning.

Integrity – accountability, honesty and professional, ethical conduct in all that we do.

Justice – valuing diversity, achieving health equality, cultural respect and a fair share for all.

STRATEGIC DIRECTIONS

  • Improving health and the experience of care.
  • Valuing consumers, staff and partnerships.
  • Governance, performance and sustainable services.

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

  • Consumers first in all we do.
  • Safe, high quality services and information at all times.
  • Care closer to home where safe and viable.
  • Evidence-based services.
  • Partnerships and collaboration.

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