Health boards to return

THE state government is making changes to the chain of command in SA Health, in an effort to give local communities back some of the decision making power and responsibility of their health services. 

The government has introduced amending legislation to establish six new regional Local Health Networks (LHNs) using the current Country Health SA LHN regions, which for Eyre Peinsula is known as the Eyre and Far North Local Health Network.

Each LHN will have its own governing board capable of making decisions on a local level which reflect the priorities of its community. 

At the moment authority and accountability of SA Health resides with the chief executive officer, however the proposed changes would mean decision-making and responsibility is transferred to local LHN boards.

Member for Flinders Peter Treloar said giving regions, like the Eyre Peninsula, more responsibility would mean health systems would be “in sync” with their communities. 

“Local boards can identify local priorities and solutions,” he said.

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said these reforms would deliver a decentralised public health system, would empower local communities and improve patient safety.

“There is strong community support, particularly in regional South Australia, for the re-establishment of local health boards,” Mr Wade said.

“By devolving decision-making, we will see better decisions made at a local level, empower local managers and become better engaged with our clinicians.

“We will be heavily engaging with clinicians, staff and stakeholders on how the public health system will work as a whole to inform the future shape of SA Health.”

With the state’s health system to begin the transition to the board governance model late next month, expressions of interest (EOIs) for chairpersons for the new boards are now being sought.

The overall transition will be gradual with LHNs starting to work with their governing board chairs, with the governing boards to be fully operational by July 1 next year.

“The first stage will be an Expression of Interest process for the 10 governing board chair(persons) which is currently underway,” Mr Wade said.

Board chairpersons will be appointed by the end of July this year, followed by an expressions of interest for board members later in 2018.

Interested applicants are to complete an application form, available on sahealth.sa.gov.au/governingboards by 5pm on June 29.