Public Health

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Policy framework statement

The Public Health Policy Framework specifies the public health requirements that all Health Service Providers (HSPs) must comply with in order to ensure effective and consistent public health service across the WA health system.

Public health is the organised response by society to protect and promote health, and to prevent illness, injury and disability. The starting point for identifying public health issues, problems and priorities, and for designing and implementing interventions, is the population as a whole, or population sub-groups. Public health complements and works with clinical care to mitigate the demand for health services.


The Director General (DG) of the Department of Health is the System Manager responsible for the overall management, strategic direction and stewardship of the WA health system. The DG will use policy frameworks to ensure a consistent approach to a range of matters undertaken by HSPs. Policy Frameworks must be complied with and implemented as part of ongoing operations.
The purpose of this policy framework is to ensure:

  • the prevention of disease before it occurs
  • the control of infectious disease transmission
  • the prevention of the development of complications of chronic disease
  • to promote and protect the health status of all Western Australians
  • the management of risk, whether natural or man-made
  • to identify and respond to opportunities to reduce inequities in health status.

This policy framework encompasses seven broad public health areas:

  1. Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
  2. Communicable Disease Control
  3. Environmental Health Management
  4. Disaster Preparedness and Management
  5. Genomics and Screening
  6. Medicines and Poisons Management
  7. Public Health Regulatory.


This policy framework is binding on each HSP to which it applies or relates.


The key principles that underpin this policy framework are:

Consistent and compliant with relevant State and National legislation and policies.

Evidence-based and accessible
Publicly accessible and informed by research and evidence.

To be straightforward and honest in all professional and business relationships.

The requirement to be precise, unbiased, open, honest and receptive to criticism. Bias, conflict of interest or undue influence of others must not override professional or business judgements.

Promoting health and preventing disease before it occurs in the wider community.

Risk management
The organisation identifies and manages its risks. Each organisation has a distinct risk profile. Identifying its particular risk exposure and developing and implementing risk prevention and remediation plans is critical to ensure the organisation can operate effectively and efficiently to achieve its goals.

Legislative context

The Health Services Act 2016 refers to policy frameworks in ss. 26-27 and s. 34(2)(c).

The legislation below, may also apply:

  • Biosecurity Act 2015 (Cwlth)
  • Contaminated Site Act 2003
  • Emergency Management Act 2005
  • Food Act 2008
  • Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1911
  • Health Professionals (Special Events Exemption) Act 2000
  • Hospitals and Health Services Act 1927
  • Medicines and Poisons Act 2014
  • National Health Security Act 2007 (Cwlth)
  • OHS Act 1984
  • Pharmacy Act 2010
  • Public Health Act 2016
  • Radiation Safety Act 1975
  • Tobacco Products Control Act 2006
  • Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Act 2007

Mandatory requirements

Under this policy framework HSPs must comply with all mandatory requirements* including:

Public Health Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

Mandatory requirements for health promotion, injury prevention, chronic disease prevention and cultural diversity include:

Communicable Disease Control

Management of Communicable Diseases
Mandatory requirements for prevention, identification, notification and control of communicable disease outbreaks include:

Environmental Health Management

Mandatory requirements for environmental health matters such as radiation safety, food and water safety, waste management, toxic hazards and legislative compliance include:

Disaster Preparedness and Management

Mandatory requirements for the prevention, preparedness, response to and recovery aspects of a health response to a major incident include:


Mandatory requirements for all aspects of public health regulations such as reporting and legislative compliance include:

*Any mandatory requirement document that references the Hospitals and Health Act 1927 must be interpreted as a requirement under the Health Services Act 2016.

Supporting information

The following documents support and inform the implementation of the mandatory requirements:

Policy framework custodian

Assistant Director General
Public and Aboriginal Health Division

Enquiries relating to this policy framework may be directed to:


This policy framework will be reviewed as required to ensure relevance and recency. At a minimum this policy framework will be reviewed within two years after first issue and at least every three years thereafter.

Version Effective from Effective to Amendment(s)
1 1 July 2016 20 October 2016 Original version
2 20 October 2016 1 November 2016 New MP 0038/16
3 1 November 2016 4 January 2017 New MP 0039/16
4 4 January 2017 21 June 2017 Added Roles and Responsibilities in the Control of Communicable Disease and Healthcare Associated Infections link to Supporting Information.
5 21 June 2017 21 November 2017 Rescinded OD 0555/14 and subheading 6.5 Genomics and Screening from Mandatory Requirements.
6 21 November 2017 21 December 2017 New MP 0073/17, superseded OD 0631/15, OD 0607/15, OD 0594/154, OD 0593/15 OD 0560/14, OD 0513/14, OD 0483/14, OD 0428/13, OD 0405/12, OD 0384/12, OD 0224/09, IC 0152/13 and IC 0150/13
7 21 December 2017 31 January 2018 Updated Policy Framework Custodian in online PDF Document only. Changes were not made to Policy Framework landing page until 10 January 2018.
8 31 January 2018 14 February 2018 Removed Western Australian Immunisation Strategy 2013- 2015 link from Supporting Information
9 14 February 2018 27 September 2018 Rescinded OP 1866/04 and 1867/04 from Mandatory Requirements
10 27 September 2018 4 January 2019 Rescinded OD 0625/15 from Mandatory Requirements
11 4 January 2019 22 February 2019 Rescinded IC 0236/15 from Supporting Information 
12 22 February 2019 27 February 2019 New MP 0103/19, superseded OD 0377/12
13 27 February 2019  13 May 2019  Rescinded OD 0462/13 from Mandatory Requirements and IC 0195/14 from Supporting Information.  
14 13 May 2019  27 May 2019 Rescinded OD 0429/13 from Mandatory Requirements (all relevant HSPs have local infection prevention and control policies addressing hand hygiene requirements in place. In addition OD 0410/12 mandates HSPs to be assessed against and accredited to these Standards). Rescinded IC 0167/13 from Supporting Information (Due to reviews and changes in the CA-MRSA program the IC is incorrect and out of date. CA-MRSA strategies continue and are in various stages of implementation, progress and planning).
15 27 May 2019 10 June 2019 Business continuity management is a component of risk management that addresses disruption related risks. Accordingly, the Business Continuity Management OD 0595/15 is now relocated from the Public Health Policy Framework to the Risk, Compliance and Audit Policy Framework
16 10 June 2019  11 July 2019 New MP 0108/19 Healthcare Associated Infection Surveillance in Western Australia Policy; supersedes OD 0527/14 Healthcare Associated Infection Surveillance in Western Australian Healthcare Facilities.
17 11 July 2019  15 August 2019 Rescinded OD 0395/12 Antental Testing for Sexually Transmissible Infectiosn and Blood-borne Viruses and OD 0392/12 Guidelines for the Provision of Hepatitis A and B Vaccine to Adults in WA at Risk of Acquiring these Infections by Sexual Transmission and Injecting Drug Use
18 15 August 2019 3 September 2019 Rescinded OD 0229/09 Fees and Charges related to the Diagnosis and Management of Tuberculosis and Leprosy .
19 3 September 2019 4 September 2019

New MP 0120/19 Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Policy. Supersedes OD 0456/13 Creutzfeldt - Jakob disease (CJD) Risk Assessment and Management.
20 4 September 2019 4 September 2019 Rescinded OD 0642/16 Vaccine Administration Code: Mumps Outbreak 2015-2016.
21 4 September 2019 8 October 2019 Rescinded OD 0237/09 Hepatitis B Vaccination Program.
22 8 October 2019 28 January 2020 Rescinded OD 0576/14 Western Australian Renal Dialysis Business Continuity Plan and IC 0151/13 Supply of Tamiflu for Isolated Outbreaks of Influenza.
23 28 January 2020 30 March 2020 New MP 0129/20 Release of Human Tissue and Explanted Medical Devices Policy, Supersedes OD 0398/12 Release of Human Tissue and Explanted Medical Devices.
24 30 March 2020 9 April 2020 New MP 0132/20 Staff Member Influenza Vaccination Program Policy, Supersedes all sections of the OD 0038/12 Health Care Worker Immunisation Policy which relate to influenza and annual influenza vaccination programs, remainder of OD 0038/12 remains current. 
25 9 April 2020 24 April 2020 New MP 0133/20 Identification and Use of Personal Protective Equipment in the Clinical Setting During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Policy.
26  24 April 2020  7 May 2020 Major Amendment to MP 0133/20 Identification and Use of Personal Protective Equipment in the Clinical Setting During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Policy.
27 7 May 2020 14 May 2020 Rescinded OD 0394/12 Policy for Health Care Workers known to be Infected with Blood-borne Viruses
28  14 May 2020  8 June 2020 Major Amendment to MP 0133/20 Identification and Use of Personal Protective Equipment in the Clinical Setting During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Policy.
29 8 June 2020 11 June 2020 Minor amendment to Public Health Policy Framework to fix hyperlinks for Westplan Human Epidemic to State Hazard Plan – Human Biosecurity, Westplan Heatwave to State Hazard Plan – Heatwave and The Australian Immunisation Handbook.
 30 11 June 2020  8 July 2020  New MP 0137/20 Managing HIV Transmission Risk Behaviours Policy. 
31 8 July 2020 15 July 2020 Major Amendment to MP 0133/20 Identification and Use of Personal Protective Equipment in the Clinical Setting During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Policy.
32 15 July 2020 24 August 2020

New MP 0139/20 Medicines Handling Policy published in advance of 1 December 2020 implementation date. Notification included within the following policies to indiciate the upcoming publication of MP 0139/20:

  • OD 0142/08 Administration of Schedule 8 medicines to patients attending for emergencies 
  • MP 0039/16 Cannabis-based Products for Medicinal Use 
  • OD 0141/08 Code of practice for the handling of Schedule 8 medicines (drugs of addiction) in hospitals and nursing posts 
  • OD 0598/15 Management of Community Program for Opioid Pharmacotherapy (CPOP) patients in a hospital setting 
  • OD 0492/14 Management of Schedule 8 and Restricted Schedule 4 oral liquid medicines 
  • OD 0529/14 Storage and recording of propofol 
  • OD 0528/14 Storage and recording of Restricted Schedule 4 (S4R) medicines
33 24 August 2020 30 September 2020 Major Amendment to MP 0133/20 Identification and Use of Personal Protective Equipment in the Clinical Setting During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Policy.
34 30 September 2020 27 November 2020 New MP 0142/20 Healthy Options WA Food and Nutrition Policy published in advance of 1 Febrary 2021 implementation date. 
 35 27 November 2020  Current Rescinded OD 0415/13 Guidelines for the Department of Health Vaccination Programs - School and Community Health Immunisation.


This policy framework has been approved and issued by the Director General of the Department of Health as the System Manager.

Approval byDr David Russell-Weisz, Director General, Department of Health
Approval date01 July 2016
Date published27 September 2018
File numberF-AA-40155


This policy framework is binding on those to whom it applies or relates. Implementation at a local level will be subject to audit.

Glossary of terms

Term Meaning
Applicability Under Section 26 of the Health Services Act 2016, policy frameworks may apply to:
  • All Health Service Providers
  • A type of public health service facility
  • A type of public health service
  • A type of staff member of a health service provider.
Health Service Provider Means a Health Service Provider established by an order made under section 32(1)(b) of the Health Services Act 2016.
Human Genomics Human Genomics is the study of human genes and the impact of their interaction with lifestyle and environment on human health. The public health role is to translate new knowledge and emerging genetic technologies and disease screening into health benefit.
WA health system Pursuant to section 19(1) of the Health Services Act 2016, means the Department of Health, Health Service Providers and to the extent that Contracted Health Entities provide health services to the State, the Contracted Health Entities.