Health reform

Our vision is to deliver a safe, high-quality and sustainable public health system.

To help realise this vision, systemwide reforms were undertaken from 2015 to 2017 and focused on greater accountability and transparency, supporting our workforce, improved financial management, stronger partnerships, more effective delivery of ICT and Support Services, and more. These reforms were aligned to the WA health system's strategic intent.

All projects within the Health Reform Program concluded in July 2017. Further work is progressing through the Sustainable Health Review and the Review of Safety and Quality in the WA health system

Governance reform

Changes to the way the WA health system is governed were made to enable greater accountability and decision-making closer to service delivery and patient care.

With an annual budget of more than $8 billion, approximately 44,000 staff and more than 90 hospitals, the WA health system is too large and complex to operate with all authority and accountability resting with the Director General of the Department of Health.

Areas of reform currently underway

  • The Health Services Act 2016
    The Health Services Act 2016  (external site) began 1 July 2016 replacing the outdated Hospital and Health Services Act 1927.  The Health Services Act 2016 (the Act) lays out how we govern, structure and run the WA health system to place much greater focus on delivering better health, better care and better value to local communities.

  • The Department of Health as System Manager
    The Act establishes the Department of Health, led by the Director General, as the System Manager responsible for the overall management and strategic direction of the WA health system, ensuring the delivery of high quality, safe and timely health services.

  • Health Service Providers and Boards
    The Child and Adolescent, North, South and East Metropolitan Health Services, and the WA Country Health Service have been established as separate legal entities (known as Health Service Providers) governed by Health Service Boards that are legally responsible and accountable for the delivery of health services for their local communities. 

  • Health Support Services
    Systemwide support services such as ICT and payroll will continue to be provided by Health Support Services, which has been established as a chief executive-governed separate, accountable legal entity.

  • Policy Frameworks 
    Under the Act, the Director General can issue binding policy frameworks for Health Service Providers to ensure service coordination and integration, and efficiency and effectiveness in the provision of health services across the WA health system. To learn more about policy frameworks, visit the Policy Frameworks page.


Changes to the governance of the WA health system will benefit its workforce, patients and the community through:

  • Dedicated focus on local health needs across WA
  • Improved accountability to the community
  • Stronger local networks and partnerships to deliver care closer to home and the community
  • Greater transparency and assurance of safety and quality of health services
  • A more sustainable health system

An annual attestation statement from the Director General is used to report on benefits realised. 

Fact sheets

Please note that the following materials provide information that was accurate at the time of publishing and may no longer be current. Please also note that the email address listed in the materials is no longer actively monitored.

  • Health Services and Boards
Produced by

Health Reform