Our Collective Vision

Our Visions

Together, caring for the West Our patients, staff, community and environment

Our Purpose

Leading the delivery of a connected and consistent patient experience and providing the best care to save and improve the lives of those in our community most in need.


Embodying the values of:

  • Compassion
  • Accountability
  • Respect
  • Excellence
  • Safety


Achieving the outcomes of:

  • The best care for all our patients
  • Improved health outcomes for our community
  • Reduced waiting for patients and staff
  • Partnerships that provide services where they best meet care needs
  • Leading translational and health service research
  • The best use of constrained resources


Western Health is a powerhouse of health care, education and research serving Melbourne’s western suburbs. We are the largest health provider in the fastest growing region of Australia.


The development of this strategic plan comes at a critical time in the organisation’s growth and maturity.

The vitality, diversity and challenges of our multicultural community inspire us to be innovative and they anchor our proud identity and tradition as a health service created by and for the people of the west. Reflecting on this tradition reminds me of the importance of grounding our contemporary provision of care in our connections with social justice.

We hold a very significant responsibility to respond to the deep need within our communities for a health service which is as efficient and innovative as it can be.

In developing the Strategic Plan, we listened to our community and we heard that, while we have improved significantly over the last five years, there are a number of ways in which we can do even better, particularly in reducing the wait for services; matching services to the diverse needs of our community; providing better facilities; and delivering more consistent care.

Bringing this Strategic Plan to life will translate to the provision of even better care to hundreds of thousands of patients over the five year life of the Plan.

The Hon. Bronwyn Pike
Western Health Board Chair


Western Health services a region with high levels of industry, communities with diverse economic circumstances and high numbers of families from a refugee or migrant background. These factors combine to have a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of our population. We must respond to higher than average rates of chronic and complex disease, cancer and mental illness.

The West is a region with strong community linkages and a well-developed history of partnership to address the substantial challenges it faces. Our health service is embedded in and committed to our community and this is a key strength and one we will build on over the five years. This Strategic Plan takes the social characteristics of our region into account and includes many initiatives designed to respond to the complex healthcare issues they generate.

Our five strategic aims focus on improving the quality of care provided to our patients, better connecting care as patients move in and out of our service, improving how we listen and engage with patients, our partners and with each other and having a broader level of responsibility to influence the health outcomes and sustainability of our community. These priorities will be realised through supporting our people to do the best job they can do.

I look forward to leading these changes with the support of the communities of the West and making a genuine difference for the sake of our patients in the years to come.

Associate Professor Alex Cockram
Western Health Chief Executive



  1. Moorabool (S) – Bacchus Marsh
  2. Wyndham (C) – West
  3. Wyndham (C) – South
  4. Wyndham (C) – North
  5. Melton (S) – Bal
  6. Hume (C) – Sunbury
  7. Melton (S) – East
  8. Brimbank (C) – Keilor
  9. Brimbank (C) – Sunshine
  10. Moonee Valley (C) – West
  11. Moonee Valley (C) – Essendon
  12. Maribyrnong (C)
  13. Hobsons Bay (C) – Williamstown
  14. Hobsons Bay (C) – Altona
  15. Sunbury Hospital
  16. Sunshine Hospital
  17. Footscray Hospital
  18. Williamstown Hospital
Our community is characterised by its rapid growth and diversity.

Growth in our catchment is significantly above the national average, consistently outstripping forecasts. The rate of growth is unlikely to slow, with our total population expected to grow from a current population of approximately 800,000 to well over 1.2 million people by 2026 .

More than 30% of our community is born outside of Australia . Within our catchment at least 110 different languages are spoken, with around 8% of the total population having poor or no English proficiency, significantly higher than the national average of 2.6%.

We also have a high number of refugee and asylum seekers within the region.

Our region has the highest rates of births in Australia, while other areas within our catchment house a much higher proportion of older residents than the national average.

Many of those in the community experience entrenched disadvantage, with higher than average unemployment, lower than average labor force participation and a large proportion of our population living below the poverty line .


The social determinants summarised above are core factors in the poor self-reported status of the health and wellbeing of our community. Our community has much higher rates of chronic disease, with many having multiple chronic diseases, including: Type 2 Diabetes; vascular disease; kidney disease; and heart disease. The prevalence of certain types of cancer is much higher compared with the rest of Victoria.

We are also seeing an increase on the already high rates of mental illness throughout the region, with high reported levels of psychological stress for the communities of Brimbank, Hume and Melton. Frailty is becoming an increasing inhibitor to independent healthy living, and while only 8% of our total population is aged over 70, more than 90% of all of our non-same day hospital stays (excluding maternity and paediatric services) are by patients in this age group

At Western Health, the birth rate is forecast to increase from around 5,500 births per annum to over 7,200 births per annum by 2026. This increase in demand, coupled with the large proportion of children in our catchment, means there will be a continuing and increased need for appropriate women’s and children’s health services.


It is anticipated that without intervention, Western Health will continue to be able to provide about 40% of the health service demand in our community. Other services within our community such as Werribee Mercy Health and Djerriwarrh Health Services provide some further services, however, our region is heavily reliant on other tertiary and quaternary services, such as Melbourne Health, St Vincent’s and the Royal Women’s and Royal Children’s hospitals. As demand continues to rise, these services will also become capacity constrained. Therefore, to successfully address these health issues requires a system-wide response to health service delivery. This strategy clearly articulates the need for a partnership approach to address the risks as well as harness the opportunities within our community.


As a public health service, Western Health is committed to continuing to respond to key statewide priorities, these include:

  • Improving health services by responding to growing patient demand through increasing capacity, focusing on the wait for emergency care and elective surgery and improving coordination across the care continuum
  • Developing key infrastructure, such as the Western Women’s and Children’s Hospital at Sunshine
  • Strengthing the health workforce with a particular focus on workplace violence, mental health and appropriate training and education
  • Improving access to culturally appropriate services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities as well as culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

Listening and responding to our community

Listening to our community

Delivering person-centred care clearly starts with listening to the community we serve. This includes service users, other service providers, our staff and the broader community. It is these voices that we’ve listened to in order to identify and prioritise our strategic aims.

Overall we heard that the community believes we have improved significantly over the last five years, but that there are still areas for improvement.

We can summarise this feedback as:

  • Patients want to feel safe and properly cared for, and to be treated consistently no matter where they come from or where they are going
  • Patients, carers and community providers would like Western Health to do a better job at ‘connecting the dots’ within and outside hospital walls
  • Patients would like to be heard, to have their needs respected and to be kept informed about what’s happening at each stage of their journey
  • Our community partners and staff need timely and accurate access to information about patients whose care includes Western Health services
  • Our partners want to work with us to deliver services that match the diverse needs of a rapidly growing community
  • Our staff and community would like to see us reduce the wait for services and improve efficiency without sacrificing quality of care
  • Our staff want clear role expectations, consistent standards of accountability and to be supported to do what is expected of them.


Our understanding of the health challenges faced by those living in our catchment is matched by our determination to make a meaningful and positive difference. We know that to maintain this track record and to continue saving lives, we need to acknowledge and plan for a future with significant and complex demand management challenges in a variety of settings.

Our strategic aims reflect a combination of the community voice and responding to the strategic risks affecting ongoing service delivery.

We believe our strategic aims are ambitious but achievable, particularly when supported by the strong foundation of what we consider to be business as usual – the underlying framework of what drives the delivery of our services, and the values that determine acceptable practice.

What we did




Western Health provides comprehensive health services to those living in western Melbourne. Covering a population of more than 800,000 our services are a combination of hospital and community-based services to newborn babies, children, adults and the elderly.

With an annual operating budget of more than 650 million dollars, we provide acute tertiary services in areas of emergency medicine, intensive care, medical and surgical services, as well as sub-acute care and specialist ambulatory clinics.

We are responsible for managing three acute public hospitals – Footscray, Sunshine and Williamstown, a day hospital at Sunbury, a transition care facility at Williamstown and a drug health service in Footscray.


Facility Description
Footscray Hospital Acute and sub-acute teaching hospital with approximately 300 beds. It provides the majority of acute elective and acute emergency services for Western Health. Patients are provided with a range of inpatient and outpatient services including acute general medical and surgical, intensive and coronary care, sub-specialty medicine, surgical services, and related clinical support.
Sunshine Hospital Acute and sub-acute teaching hospital with approximately 600 beds (including Mental Health beds managed by North West Mental Health). Sunshine Hospital has a range of services including a new intensive care unit, cardiac care services, women’s and children’s services, surgical, medical, mental health, aged care and rehabilitation services. Sunshine Hospital’s emergency department, including a paediatric service, is one of the busiest general emergency departments in Victoria.
Williamstown Hospital A 90 bed facility providing emergency services, surgical services, rehabilitation and geriatric evaluation and management services, renal dialysis services and community rehabilitation and transition care services.
Hazeldean Transition Centre Provides a goal-oriented, time limited and therapy focused care to assist older people at the conclusion of their hospital stay.
Sunbury Day Hospital Provides day medical, day surgical, day chemotherapy, haemodialysis treatment and a number of specialist clinic.
Drug Health and Addiction Medicine Services A community based program of Western Health offering innovative recovery programs. Addiction Medicine provides inpatient treatment for complex drug and alcohol patients and toxicology services.
Western Centre for Health Research and Education (WCHRE) Located as Sunshine Hospital, the WCHRE provides a range of purpose built, state-of-the-art teaching and research facilities. The WCHRE is the result of the partnership with the University of Melbourne and Victoria University.


Despite operational funding pressures and facility constraints, we continue to grow in many areas in order to meet the increasing needs of our community. In particular over the last five years, since 2010/11, we have seen approximately 7% growth in emergency department presentations, a 30% increase in outpatient appointments as well as a greater level of acuity and complexity of patients within the acute care setting.

To effectively deliver these services we employ over 6,200 staff plus over 600 volunteers and have a strong philosophy of working with our local community in a range of partnerships to deliver excellence in patient care.

Those who work at Western Health have an energy and agility to consistently respond to transforming our health service. Our staff and volunteers have a strong connection to our local communities, which brings a sense of identity and pride that is unique to Western Health.



We have long term partnerships with many providers across the region, including local government, primary and community care providers. This has culminated in the development and ongoing implementation of the Better Health Plan for the West. We are also partners in Strengthening Hospitals in Melbourne’s West – a coalition with our neighbouring health services Djerriwarrh Health and Mercy Health, which aims to build a cohesive view of how health services in the region can best meet the needs of our community now and into the future.

Western Health also has long term partnerships with:

  • Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, in the Sunshine Hospital Radiation Therapy Centre
  • North Western Mental Health and Mercy Health in the delivery of mental health services across western Melbourne
  • University of Melbourne, Victoria University and Deakin University, in addition to a number of other university providers in the delivery of research and education.

What we do on a typical day


patients are cared for overnight


patients see a doctor in an outpatient clinic


patients are discharged


volunteers support staff and patients


patients are seen by our Community and Allied Health Services


patients require interpreter services


patients are visited at home by our Hospital in the Home program


babies are welcomed into the world


meals are served


community providers partner with us to provide care


patients attend one of our three emergency departments


surgical operations take place


We are committed to consistently delivering better outcomes for our community. Our new strategic plan sets ambitious goals for our future, building on our hard work over the last five years. Our previous strategic plan focused on building a strong foundation for quality health service delivery at Western Health.

Our previous strategic goals were safe and effective care; people and culture; community and partnerships; research and learning; and self-sufficiency and sustainability. Over the last five years we have:

  • Adopted the National Standards for safe, quality care supported by Western Health’s leading Best Care Framework
  • Seen significant advances in eHealth in the use of the digital medical record and the use of electronic devices
  • Supported more than 20% of our staff in acquiring a nationally recognised qualification via our Registered Training Organisation
  • Implemented the “Clinicians at the Helm” leadership and alumni program for more than 150 senior leaders and clinicians
  • Increased research funding and activity, with a substantial increase in the international recognition of research studies involving Western Health
  • Opened the Western Centre for Health Research and Education and established the Western Health Simulation Centre
  • Implemented the Western Health occupational health and safety strategy, achieving an above average Work Cover performance rating
  • Attracted high calibre candidates to key staff vacancies through a successful workforce strategy and focus on reputational issues
  • Supported the implementation of the Better Health Plan for the West, with 22 partner organisations and collaborated to provide partnership models of service delivery
  • Improved capacity to provide acute specialist services following the construction of the $90m Acute Services Building at Sunshine and introduced intensive care and cardiac services at Sunshine Hospital
  • Managed patient activity at 3-6% above funding levels, while consistently delivering a budget surplus.


At present we face a number of key strategic risks and opportunities that should be addressed for the future success of Western Health. Our plan for responding is set out below.


Key challenges and opportunities How we have addressed these within the plan
The impact of population growth and the burden of disease on the capacity of our services to effectively meet community health needs Within Aim 1, we articulate the need for a review of our existing service profile and pursue expansion or alternative service delivery opportunities that better meet the needs of our community.

Aim 2 focusses on the importance, particularly for those with chronic and complex conditions that require ongoing support from a variety of health and wellbeing providers to have a connected care experience.

The growing external focus on clinical practice requirements for providing quality safe care A core element of Aim 1 is for Western Health to provide a consistent care experience, underpinned by our leading Best Care framework.
The growing complexity of the health system and the need to often partner with multiple providers to successfully deliver high quality health care across the care continuum Aim 2 identifies Western Health’s commitment to partner with a variety of health and wellbeing providers to better support the people most in need, enabling access to a continuous level of services in an efficient way.
The growing use of technology to effectively transfer information in a comprehensive and timely way Aim 3 identifies two key communication platforms to support patients in their ongoing care by boosting internal communication through the implementation of the Electronic Medical Record and enhancing the continuity of information flow to other health service providers.
The increasing appetite for those consumers with appropriate levels of health literacy and capacity, to have a coordinated experience so that they can actively and safely participate in their own care, but ensuring that the socially disadvantaged patients are not left behind. Aim 3 places emphasis on person-centred care, firstly through improving the way we listen and respond to patients and their support network and secondly by empowering patients through knowledge so that they can be a genuine partner in their care planning and ongoing management.
The growing importance of establishing economically sustainable, collaborative community partnerships to bridge the gap in addressing health service needs Community partnerships are a fundamental cornerstone within our plan. Aim 4 identifies key strategies that ground the health service in a variety of service delivery and research partnerships within the region.
Despite the substantial investment in the expansion of Sunshine Hospital, including the development of the Western Women’s and Children’s Hospital by 2018, the age and fit for purpose design of our existing infrastructure at Footscray Hospital brings operational risk, particularly given the growth within inner western Melbourne. Aim 4 identifies the need to develop fit for purpose infrastructure that supports the needs of our community.
The increasing competition for limited capital and operational funding in the public sector Aim 4 identifies the need for Western Health to seek and leverage alternative capital and operational funding models, driving service efficiency as well as evaluating service decisions based on financial sustainability.
Anticipated future state-wide workforce shortages coupled with the need to attract, retain and support staff to meet specialist and general clinical workforce gaps By valuing and empowering our people (Aim 5), we are continuing to place an emphasis on the ongoing building and attraction of talent in the face of workforce shortages.

Transforming Health in the West

Western Health aspires to transform the health and wellbeing outcomes of our community – a dynamic community with great cultural diversity, significant growth, entrenched disadvantage and high health needs. This presents a unique opportunity to be transformative in the way Western Health provides care over the next five years. We must harness the vitality and diversity of our community, by being innovative in the delivery of care and by working in partnership with our patients and their support networks.

We cannot do this without our staff and volunteers, who have a strong sense of commitment to improving the health and wellbeing in our community and understand the need for change. As the major health service in Melbourne’s West, we acknowledge that we cannot achieve our goals alone, and we need to continue to build strong partnerships with others in the community.

Being accountable and measuring our success

In developing the strategic plan we have set some clear parameters to hold ourselves accountable.

To achieve excellence, we are committed to continually comparing our performance and learning from others. With this in mind, many of our measures within the strategic plan look to benchmark against our peers on a local, national and even international basis.

Further, in developing the strategic plan we have drawn on several health services across jurisdictions to determine appropriate strategies and measures to respond in the best possible way to the key challenges and opportunities we face.






We drive consistency in providing safe care and have a clear service profile that best meets the needs of our catchment. Wherever possible, our actions are evidence-based and enable us to know we are providing the right care.


Objectives and initiatives Outcomes Measures of success
Objective 1: Define and deliver services to better meet the needs of our diverse community
1. Review our existing service profile and focus on areas for growth, consolidation and / or alternative service delivery

2. Identify key gaps and pursue new service delivery opportunities

Partnerships that provide services where they best meet care needs
  • Increased in-catchment activity for targeted growth areas
  • Less gaps in service profile
Objective 2: Deliver consistent care, aligned with the Best Care Framework
1. Implement consistent standards and models of care

2. Focus quality improvement activity initially on medications safety, the deteriorating patient, handover / transfer and infection prevention

The best care for all our patients
  • Core hospital-based outcome indicators are consistently better than benchmarks, including:
  • Mortality rates
  • Readmission rates
  • Infection rates
  • Average length of stay in like diagnostic groups is consistent and below state averages
  • Reduced serious adverse events (ISR 1&2)
  • Reduced high risk medication errors
  • Improved clinical practice audit outcomes, including:
  • Improved clinical handover practice
  • Improved recognition and management of deteriorating patients
Objective 3: Undertake research and quality improvement activities as part of everyday practice
1.Embed a consistent methodology and implementation approach to quality improvement

2. Support and drive research activity to improve the translation of evidence to best practice service delivery

Leading translational and health service research
  • Increased levels of research activity, including:
  • Number of publications
  • Number of clinical trials
  • Type and funding value of grants
  • Increased number of quality improvement projects presented external to Western Health
  • Improved coordination and implementation of quality improvement initiatives

A patient story*

Katerina is 82 years old and arrived in Australia in 1960 from Macedonia. For many years she worked in the laundry at Footscray Hospital but she is now retired and lives with her husband in Footscray. She struggles with English and her children often tell her she is becoming forgetful.

Katerina is a little overweight and has been diagnosed with heart failure, often suffers from shortness of breath and gets pneumonia very easily. She relies on her four children to take her to the doctors and specialists visits. She is currently taking over 15 different types of medications and she often forgets to take them as well as what they are all for.

When she feels very sick her husband will call the ambulance to take her to the Emergency Department. Each time her experience is very different and her family often has to tell her story over and over. She also finds that no matter how many times she visits the same ward, the way they treat her is different.

Lately she has been working with a group of doctors at the hospital to help her better understand her illness.

*These stories are replicas of several different experiences shared throughout the strategic planning process to assist with illustrating the strategic priorities.


What this means for patients

I receive care that makes me feel better and safe.


What makes this true for patients

  • Western Health performs better than their peers in how patients rate the overall care received
  • Western Health has high levels of reported patient involvement in decisions about care and treatment
  • The majority of patients believe they have had the opportunity to discuss worries or fears about the their condition or treatment
  • Patients are aware of their rights in regards to safe care



We connect our care with patients, their families and their health providers – so that everyone knows what’s next. We provide coordinated care, working as a team to provide the best outcomes for those who need it most. We drive reform to reduce the wait for ambulatory and emergency care.


Objectives and initiatives Outcomes Measures of success
Objective 1: Improve the timeliness and responsiveness of our health service
1. Reform ambulatory services by standardising the referral process, developing clear program pathways and creating centralised service coordination

2. Strengthen the timeliness of emergency care pathways and systems

3. Implement consistent and timely discharge planning process across the service

Reduced waiting for patients and staff
  • Ambulatory waiting list times meet state targets
  • Achieve state target in NEAT performance


For those in our diverse community suffering from multi-system disease, particularly those at risk of high acute service utilisation


Objective 2: Embed patient and carer participation in planning and, where possible, managing their care
1. Develop and embed care planning tools and methods that focus on patient and carer participation

2. Increase advance care planning practices

The best care for all our patients
  • Patient goals are set in every care plan
  • Increased number of patients with advance care plans in place
Objective 3: Design a network, where patients are treated in the right setting, with the right provider to promote healthy living, taking into consideration their background
1. Develop a model of care focussed on delivering evidence-based best care in the right setting

2. Provide opportunities for rapid access to specialists or acute settings as appropriate

3. Embed a coordinator function to act as a single point of contact throughout the patient journey

The best care for all our patients
  • Reduce avoidable and unplanned admission levels
  • Reduce avoidable ED presentations
Objective 4: Increase the application of shared care models
1. Focusing on our patients, as they move from the community into and out of Western Health, work together with our partners to establish clear roles across the care continuum

2. Introduce shared care planning and delivery with other providers

The best care for all our patients
  • All identified and willing patients have a shared care plan in place

A patient story*

Harry is 64 years old and lives alone after his wife passed away. Harry has renal failure from long-standing Type 2 Diabetes, requires dialysis every second day and must visit specialists because of his poor foot circulation. Harry relies quite a bit on his daughter who lives in country Victoria and can only visit once or twice a month. Sometimes he finds it difficult to do his washing and cook his meals and this impacts his diabetes.

His dialysis nurses are very good and often are able to help him coordinate appointments with specialists and let him know what papers he needs to bring to what appointments, which is good because he often forgets to bring the right information with him.

Once or twice a year he presents to the ED because he gets an infection as a result of his treatment, the wait is often long and many times he has spent a night in the cubicle awaiting admission to a ward. This means he often has to stay in hospital for a few days until his diabetes and the infection is back under control. If he visits his GP or attends a dialysis clinic, the nurses and doctors often do not know what medication he is on and what treatment he has had, making the visit much longer as they need to chase this up.

*These stories are replicas of several different experiences shared throughout the strategic planning process to assist with illustrating the strategic priorities.


What this means for patients

I receive help, treatment and information when I need it and in a coordinated way.


What makes this true for patients

  • Patients’ perception of waiting times improved
  • Patients believe they receive appropriate levels of information about what they can do to manage their health and care at home
  • For identified patients, Western Health connects them with the most appropriate providers in a timely way
  • A shared care plan exists for those identified and willing patients



We support person-centred care. We take the time to listen to our patients, their support networks and our partners. We respect what they say, are transparent in how we communicate what is happening and look for ways to improve how we engage with patients along the journey. We use technology to enable effective communication with each other and our partners, which include primary and community service providers with the ultimate goal of improving the health outcomes of our patients.


Objectives and initiatives Outcomes Measures of success
Objective 1: Improve the way we listen and respond to patients and their support networks throughout the patient journey
1. Enhance the way we help patients and their support networks navigate through the system, with particular focus on those most vulnerable

2. Improve the transparency and process of how we collect and respond to feedback

3. Embed a consistent approach in engaging with patients about their care, respecting diversity

4. Enhance access to timely and understandable education and information for patients and their support networks

The best care for all our patients
  • Victorian Health Experience Survey participation levels exceed state average
  • Increased levels of Western Health based feedback received
  • All feedback is actioned and closed within 30 days
Objective 2: Improve the way we communicate with our partners
1. Implement standard processes and technologies that enhance information flow between Western Health and its partners (such as primary and community care) to better support patient care Partnerships that provide services where they best meet care needs
  • Improvements in participation and experience results for our partners
  • Annual increase in the numbers of external providers using eGateway
  • More timely access to hospital information, including:
  • Discharge summaries
    (80% at time of discharge)
  • Outpatient visits attendance
    (80% at time of visit)
Objective 3: Build an integrated technology environment
1. Set and report on performance to increase transparency across the health service to drive accountability

2. Implement tools and technologies that enhance information flow within Western Health, including the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) and how it interfaces with all patient information systems across the service

The best use of constrained resources
  • Strategic priority measures publicly available, updated at least quarterly and in an understandable format
  • Implement EMR on time and on budget

A patient story*

Amrita recently came to Australia from India and now lives in Taylors Hill with her husband and her small child. She is 30 weeks pregnant. English is her second language and she requires an interpreter during visits as she does not always understand what the staff say.

She receives maternity care at Sunshine Hospital as well as at her local doctors. Her first visit went very well and an interpreter was present. She knew what was happening and what she needed to do to keep her and her baby healthy. Last month, she had some pain and when she visited her local doctor he thought she should go to ED. When she arrived she found it difficult to tell the doctor what was wrong because there was no interpreter. They asked a lot of questions and she did not always know what was happening. She stayed only a short while before they let her go home, but she was not able to fully understand what was wrong with her. When she next visited her doctor, he did not know what happened when she visited the hospital.

She was worried that if she spoke to staff, it may have affected the type of care she received – she mentioned she did not want to be seen as a troublemaker or cause any problems. Her husband’s English is a little better, and although he was quite angry, he provided some feedback to the nursing staff at her next ante-natal appointment While they seemed happy to receive the feedback, and thanked her for letting them know but she doesn’t know how or if the feedback has made any difference.

*These stories are replicas of several different experiences shared throughout the strategic planning process to assist with illustrating the strategic priorities.


What this means for patients

I am seen and treated as a person.


What makes this true for patients

  • Using and encouraging patient feedback, Western Health achieves higher than the peer average in the level of communication and provision of information in an accessible and understandable way
  • Patients consistently feel they are treated with dignity and respect
  • Patients have access to a trustworthy, transparent and responsive patient feedback system
  • Information is provided in a way that reflects our diverse patient needs



We partner with the community to develop a system-wide approach to health and wellbeing for the West. We are focused on operating sustainably in accordance with our social, environmental and economic responsibilities.


Objectives and initiatives Outcomes Measures of success
Objective 1: Develop and optimise constrained resources
1. Evaluate service decisions and use of physical infrastructure based on financial sustainability

2. Seek and leverage alternative capital and operational funding models

3. Develop fit for purpose infrastructure that supports health service needs

4. Be a leading health service in environmental sustainability

The best use of constrained resources
  • Achieve targeted operating result
  • Fit for purpose infrastructure developed on time and on budget
  • Achieve state-wide environmental targets
Objective 2: In partnership, develop a health service profile and system collaboration for western Melbourne
1. Develop a regional service plan outlining key health service profiles and their associated needs in the catchment under the Strengthening Hospitals in Melbourne’s West initiative

2. Support growth across the provider network to better meet the needs of the catchment

Partnerships that provide services where they best meet care needs
  • Improvements in system-wide service gaps
  • Increased levels of submissions and funding for collaborative projects
Objective 3: In partnership actively promote healthy and diverse communities
1. In partnership with other agencies strengthen how we address core social determinants of community health and wellbeing, such as Better Health Plan for the West Initiative and key relationships with organisations like the regional Primary Care Network Partnerships that provide services where they best meet care needs
  • Growth in the numbers of formal partnerships
  • Increased number of precinct participants
Objective 4: Build Western Health’s economic contribution to the region
1. Increase our workforce profile to reflect the diversity of our catchment as well as at least sustaining current levels of in-catchment employment

2. Strengthen corporate partnership and volunteering activities within Western Health

3. Foster academic partnerships with educational institutions, including the development of the Sunshine Health, Wellbeing and Education Precinct

Improved health outcomes for our community
  • Maintain levels of in-catchment employment
  • Improve CALD and Indigenous workforce participation levels

A patient story*

Amal is 55 years old and comes from Lebanon. She arrived in Australia the 1980s and has two children. When they were growing up she was a stay at home mum. To keep her occupied she now volunteers at the local community centre running a walking group for women. Most of those in the group have serious health conditions and walking is a way to help with physical as well as emotional fitness.

The group often share their experiences about visiting Western Health. She mentioned that she has seen it get better and better over the years and that most of them will continue to need the services if their health does not improve.

*These stories are replicas of several different experiences shared throughout the strategic planning process to assist with illustrating the strategic priorities.


What this means for patients

My local health service plays a part in keeping the community well and I know it does not waste resources.


What makes this true for patients

  • Growth in Western Health’s volunteering programs and opportunities
  • Increased number of active community partners working with Western Health
  • A commitment to our community through supporting and partnering appropriate community health and wellbeing initiatives



We have a capable, accountable and high performing workforce – we have the right staff in the right job.
We foster learning and development, creating a culture where everyone feels supported to succeed.


Objectives and initiatives Outcomes Measures of success
Objective 1: Build a flexible workforce that can respond rapidly to the changing health service needs
1. Build the competency and capability of those in critical job roles and functions to realise our strategic priorities

2. Support capability building through providing equitable access to training and education

3. Develop strategies that respond to the universal workforce shortage and ongoing service requirements

An accountable and supported workforce
  • Absenteeism rates and agency costs below state benchmarks
  • Compliance in mandatory training
Objective 2: Strengthen the culture of accountability and trust
1. Realign job roles to reflect strategic priorities

2. Establish an accountability framework at both a local and organisational level that empowers staff to achieve the strategic priorities

An accountable and supported workforce
  • All staff have an annual performance plan in place
  • Above industry average in staff working according to Western Health values (People Matter Survey)
  • Above industry average levels of communication between senior management and staff (People Matter Survey)
Objective 3: Improve the health and wellbeing of our staff
1. Engage our people in the development and implementation of a safer work environment, including health service infrastructure and wellbeing initiatives An accountable and supported workforce
  • High risk OHS incidences below industry average:
  • Manual handling
  • Aggression
  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Overall staff satisfaction rates above industry average (People Matter Survey)
  • Improvement in staff turnover rates

A Staff story*

Silvana is 35 years old and lives in Braybrook. She has worked at Western Health for the last 10 years. She started as a Registered Nurse and now she is looking for Nurse Unit Manager opportunities. She continues to attend training opportunities and also looks for ways to be mentored in her role.

Over the last year she has lost over 20 kilograms by attending regular meetings on healthy eating, going to the gym at work and with the support of her colleagues.

She recently entered the WalkWest fundraising event and was able to run 5km. She acknowledged that she still has a bit to go, but she knows that she can achieve her goals. She believes that Western Health is more than just a job – she feels supported in all aspects of her development – personal and professional.

*These stories are replicas of several different experiences shared throughout the strategic planning process to assist with illustrating the strategic priorities.


What this means for patients

Those treating me are supported in the work they do.


What makes this true for patients

  • Using patient feedback Western Health achieves higher than the peer average in how well doctors and nurses worked together
  • Increased perceived level of assistance provided by staff who have patient contact
  • Improved perception on how well staff engage with each other and other patients

The organisational-wide priorities for 2015/16 are:



Next Steps

As with its development, the implementation of the strategic plan is based on the prioritisation of key objectives based on the availability of resources. Therefore, objectives within the strategic plan have been prioritised based on a combination of the level of organisational risk along with the improvement in health outcomes for our communities.

The strategic plan will be underpinned by a series of roadmaps that will establish the clear actions that will be undertaken to achieve the strategic objectives and initiatives.

The progress of the strategic plan and its supporting roadmaps will be reviewed each year to reflect progress as well as changes in the external environment. Updates will be made if required to ensure the plan remains current.




Western Health undertook a highly consultative process in the development of the organisational wide strategic plan. The following activities were undertaken across the four stage process between December 2014 and July 2015:


Stage 1: Looking forward

Developed underst-anding of the key strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing Western Health based on a review of the current and potential future environmental factors likely to influence Western Health’s operations over the next three to five years.

Activities included an assessment of previous organisational strategies and reviews as well as consultation with staff.


Stage 2: Firming up ideas

Key organisational-wide strategic themes were identified based on the outcomes from Stage 1 and an all-day working session with Western Health senior leaders, which were subsequently tested and iterated with community partners.

At this stage, a working session with the Board and the Department of Health and Human Services was held to test and iterate these themes.


Stage 3: Refining ideas

An extensive staff and consumer engagement process was undertaken to identify potential activities that could be undertaken by Western Health to effectively address the strategic themes raised in Stage 2.

The ideas from these consultations were then synthesised, with clear strategic aims resulting and objectives and initiatives developed.


Stage 4: Pulling it Together

A draft strategic plan was developed and tested with Western Health senior leaders, Executive and the Board. Externally, the strategic plan was tested with the Department and a selection of community partners. Based on feedback, the strategic plan was incorporated with the final obtaining Board and Ministerial approval.



As highlighted previously, extensive stakeholder engagement was undertaken, using a variety of mediums including:

  • A short film detailing the strategic planning process
  • Intranet and internet webpages
  • Online survey for consumers and community providers
  • Face-to-face interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Staff forums

Overall Western Health engaged with over 1,000 people in the development of the strategic plan.

Throughout the four stage process, input from well over 700 staff and volunteers was gathered, through a combination of focus groups and one-on-one interviews, at Footscray Hospital, Sunshine Hospital, Williamstown Hospital, Hazeldean Transition Care Unit and Sunbury Day Hospital. Staff were provided the opportunity to comment on the strategic focus areas as well as identify potential opportunities for Western Health to pursue.

During Stage 2 Western Health commenced its engagement with consumer partners with more than 80 providers engaged through one-on-one interviews or focus groups, including neighbouring health services, private health providers, primary and community care providers (including GPs, aged care facilities and large primary care providers), local government and universities. The engagement process enabled community providers to identify what was important to each partner and potential opportunities for the future, influencing the development of objectives and initiatives for the strategic plan.

During Stage 3, around 180 consumers were consulted, mostly on a one-on-one and group basis. The consultations included both direct patients (attending either ED, outpatient clinics or as an inpatient on a ward) and previous consumers (engaged primarily via focus groups). Further, consumers had the opportunity to provide feedback through an online survey that was available via the strategic planning website. Outcomes were captured via the online survey, which enabled analysis of key demographic and thematic information. Those consulted were from all over the Western Health catchment, including suburbs like Altona, Bacchus Marsh, St Albans, Sunshine, Tarneit and Footscray. Many of those engaged were between 25-54 years


Key outputs from consultations were fed directly into the development of the plan.


What we heard

How we have responded

Patients want to feel safe and properly cared for, and to be treated consistently no matter where they come from or where they are going Within Strategic Aim 1, Objectives 2-3 identifies the need to deliver consistent care and where possible are evidence-based
Patients, carers and community providers would like Western Health to do a better job at ‘connecting the dots’ within and outside hospital walls Strategic Aim 2, Objectives 2-4 focus on connecting the patient journey, particularly for those who use our services the most
Patients would like to be heard, to have their needs respected and to be kept informed about what’s happening at each stage of their journey Within Strategic Aim 3, Objective 1 is focused on improving the way Western Health listen and responds to patients throughout their journey
Our community partners and staff need timely and accurate access to information about patients whose care includes Western Health services Within Strategic Aim 3, Objective 2-3 clearly establishes the prioritization for tools and technology to improve information flow.
Our partners want to work with us to deliver services that match the diverse needs of a rapidly growing community Within Strategic Aim 1, Objective 1 and Aim 4 Objectives 1-4, there is a clear focus on improving partnerships and growing the health system across Western Melbourne to meet the needs of the catchment
Our staff and community would like to see us reduce the wait for services and improve efficiency without sacrificing quality of care Within Strategic Aim 2, Objective 1 focusses on improving the timeliness and responsiveness of the health service
Our staff want clear role expectations, consistent accountability standards and to be supported to do what is expected of them Strategic Aim 4 focusses on valuing and empowering the workforce

Appendix 2. REFERENCES

  1. Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure (2014); Victoria in Future 2014;
    available at: www.dtpli.vic.gov.au/victoria-in-future-2014 and Melbourne’s population – a story of growth, April 2012; available at:

  2. LeadWest, Birthplace of population in Melbourne’s West, 2011; available at: http://www.communityprofile.com.au/melbourneswest/population/birthplace

  3. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2010) Cited in Better Health Plan for the West (page 18); available at: http://www.westernhealth.org.au/AboutUs/BHPW/Pages/default.aspx

  4. Department of Immigration and Citizenship (2011) Cited in Better Health Plan for the West (page 19); available at: http://www.westernhealth.org.au/AboutUs/BHPW/Pages/default.aspx

  5. Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure (2014); Victoria in Future 2014;
    available at: www.dtpli.vic.gov.au/victoria-in-future-2014

  6. Better Health Plan for the West (page 14); available at: http://www.westernhealth.org.au/AboutUs/BHPW/Pages/default.aspx

  7. Department of Health and Human Services, 2015-16 Statement of Priorities