SA Health – Introduction of Local Health Network Governing Boards

10 July 2018

The Public Service Association (PSA) recently attended a briefing of Unions in relation to the introduction of Local Health Network (LHN) Governing Boards across South Australia.

Members would be aware of this matter from SA Health communications, including Staff Frequently Asked Questions and other materials which are available on the SA Health website.

There are still a lot of questions from PSA members, which the PSA raised at the Union Briefing. SA Health advised that this is only the first step of the reform, with many matters still to be considered and proposed over the next six months.

Current information is as follows:

  •     There will be three metropolitan LHN Boards (SALHN, NALHN and CALHN), as well as a Women’s and Children’s Statewide Board.
  •     There will be six Regional LHN Boards, following the current regions as follows:
    •         Barossa Hills Fleurieu LHN
    •         Eyre and Far North LHN
    •         Flinders and Upper North LHN
    •         Riverland Mallee Coorong LHN
    •         South East LHN
    •         Yorke and Northern LHN
  •     There is no proposal available yet as to how other Statewide services will be governed, such as SA Pathology, SA Medical Imaging, SA Dental Service, SA Pharmacy, SA Ambulance Service, Drug and Alcohol Services of SA, and Statewide Mental Health Services, both current and proposed. SA Health anticipates having this information for consultation by the end of 2018.
  •     Expressions of Interest for the Chairs of the ten Boards noted above closed on 29 June 2018. SA Health anticipates these roles being appointed by 31 July 2018, with those Chairs then having an advisory function until commencement of full board operations from 1 July 2019. These advisory functions will include being involved in the recruitment of Board members, and general advice regarding the processes and decisions ahead.
  •     There is no proposal available yet in regards to current central SA Health functions, other than some functions will be devolved to LHNs and some retained. There are also no proposals regarding current central CHSA functions, and those based in King William Street. SA Health again advised that this information will be available for consultation by the end of 2018.
  •     The future operation of the current 39 Country Health Advisory Councils (HACs) under the new governance is still to be determined, and will be discussed with the HACs.
  •     SA Health have advised that staff will remain employees of LHNs, as they are now. How this will apply for staff working across LHNs – both in metropolitan and country LHNs – is yet to be determined.
  •     The PSA raised the issue of Governing Boards’ consultation with “health professionals” regarding a “clinician engagement strategy” and whether this would include Allied Health. SA Health confirmed that this would be the case and further information regarding engagement will be provided as the process progresses.
  •     The PSA also raised the issue of no clear consultation for engagement strategies for non-clinicians such as administrative staff. SA Health have taken this question on notice and will respond to the PSA as the process progresses.
  •     The PSA and other unions noted that there was also nothing regarding consultation with unions. SA Health advised that consultation would occur as per usual industrial requirements, as outlined in respective Enterprise Agreements.

SA Health advised that they will continue to provide further information as available and engage in consultation with Unions.

The PSA will continue to keep members updated as further information becomes available.