Health reform

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

To help realise this vision, reforms are taking place across WA Health 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 are being coordinated through the WA Health Reform Program 2015-2020 (PDF 457KB) and align to the WA Health strategic intent.

Governance reform

Changes are being made to the way WA Health is governed 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, WA Health has become too large and complex to operate with all authority and accountability resting with the Director General of the Department of Health.

There is opportunity for WA Health to be more responsive and innovative in meeting the health needs of local communities and of a growing and ageing population.

Areas of reform currently underway

  • The Health Services Act 2016
    The Health Services Act 2016 (the Act) began 1 July 2016 replacing the outdated Hospital and Health Services Act 1927.  The Act lays out how we govern, structure and run the WA public health 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 public health system, ensuring the delivery of high quality, safe and timely health services.

  • Health Services and Boards
    The State’s Health Services (Child and Adolescent, North, South and East Metropolitan, and WA Country Health) have been established as separate legal entities governed by Health Service Boards that are legally responsible and accountable for the delivery of health services for their local communities.  This includes the new East Metropolitan Health Service that was announced by the Minister for Health in late 2015.

  • 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 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 public health system. To learn more about policy frameworks, visit the Policy Frameworks page.


Changes to the governance of the WA Health system will benefit the 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 communty
  • Greater transparency and assurance of safety and quality of health services
  • A more sustainable health system

Fact sheets

  • Health Services and Boards
Produced by

Health Reform