Southern Inland Health Initiative

Half a billion dollar investment in WA health

Health care in the southern inland region of WA was transformed through the State Government’s half a billion dollar Southern Inland Health Initiative (SIHI), made possible by the Royalties for Regions program.

Under the Southern Inland Health Initiative, communities in the southern inland catchment benefitted from:

  • Significant improvement in medical resources and 24 hour emergency response across the districts.  
  • A major infrastructure program including new builds and upgrades to 37 health services across the Wheatbelt, Great Southern, South West and Midwest. 
  • Innovative services to bring healthcare closer to home.
  • Implementation of the Primary Health Care Demonstration Program.
  • Investment in telehealth technology, including equipment upgrades and provision of new service delivery models of care.
  • Investment in residential aged care and dementia investment.  

Southern Inland Health Initiative Final Evaluation Report – December 2018

The SIHI Final Evaluation Report December 2018 demonstrates that SIHI achieved its intended strategic outcomes, providing significant improvements and benefits to regional communities.

In addition, SIHI funding provided the foundation for further innovation, enabling WACHS to develop a higher level of technological readiness that will build further economic efficiencies, continuing to significantly improve access to health services and health outcomes for country patients and communities. 

The key findings are summarised below:

  • 58 per cent increase in the number of GPs in SIHI towns
  • 24 per cent improvement in the number of people seen by a doctor at the larger SIHI hospital EDs (equivalent to 26,500 additional patients in ED presentations)
  • more GPs staying longer in SIHI towns (the seven year retention rate increased from 44 to 60 per cent)
  • greater than 97 percent of paid ED rosters in place and filled for on-site attendance at large hospitals compared to less than 10 per cent pre-SIHI
  • the establishment of the ETS under SIHI, helping to save lives and significantly improved the outcomes for emergency patients treated in small country hospitals   
  • 32 per cent reduction in non-urgent ED attendances at SIHI hospitals
  • 26 per cent reduction in people returning to EDs for further treatment within 48 hours
  • decreased length of stay in hospitals, with approximately 19,000 inpatient bed days were saved in SIHI hospitals over the SIHI period
  • expansion of the telehealth network with over over 900 videoconferencing endpoints distributed across the State
  • 18,224 country outpatient appointments were delivered via telehealth in 2017 (30 per cent increase on 2016), saving WA country patients from travelling 27.3 million kilometres
  • $300 million worth of capital improvements to more than 30 hospitals and health services across the SIHI region, enhancing facilities to meet the contemporary health needs of SIHI communities.

Download a copy of the SIHI Final Evaluation Report December 2018 (PDF  4.5MB).

Produced by

WA Country Health Service