About Us

Message from the Secretary

Today, the Minister for Health announced a new streamlined executive structure for the state’s health system.

This is the next step to our commitment to strengthen local decision-making authority and accountability and to continue to build a stronger sense of collaboration, cooperation and shared purpose within our department.

From 2 March, 2020 we will commence transitioning to governance and accountability changes that will:

  • Clarify and confirm local decision-making authority and accountability.
  • Provide a clear and consistent strategic direction across the Department and Tasmanian Health Service (THS).
  • Support coordination and clinical/business consistency.
  • Provide a greater focus on community-based care and health system reform.
  • Provide new opportunities for clinicians and consumers to inform and shape key decisions about how healthcare is delivered in Tasmania.

Importantly, the new structure responds directly to recommendations made in recent reports of the Auditor-General, our undertakings at the Access Solution Meeting held last year and previous stakeholder feedback.

The changes will ensure our focus is on delivering high quality, safe and sustainable health services for all Tasmanians and that we are well positioned to meet and actively address, through positive reform, the challenges facing our health system, as well as supporting local decision making in our hospitals.

Please note for the majority of staff, these changes will not affect your day-to-day duties in providing health services to the Tasmanian community.

Functional View chart

One Executive Structure

As we have transitioned to operating under the Tasmanian Health Act 2018, the separation of the day-to-day executive management and inefficiencies in operating as two separate Executive committees across the Department and THS has reinforced a two-agency culture and has led to disparate decision-making, inconsistent application of policy and direction and duplication of services.

Our new streamlined executive structure, through one Health Executive chaired by me, will enable us to work as one team, ensure we have an appropriate level of visibility and participation of key functions and that our strategic direction is influenced by local business requirements.

The Health Executive will be broader than the direct reports to the Secretary, is consistent with the THS Act, strengthens systems coordination and local accountability and authority, and preserves the purchaser/provider distinction.

The current THS Executive positions will be abolished and redesigned, with the functions reorganised and incorporated into the new structure. With the key functional areas of human resources, finance and information management and technology reporting directly to the Secretary the position of Deputy Secretary, Corporate Services will be abolished.

Governance comparison

Strengthening Governance Arrangements

Establishing an effective governance structure is critical to improving healthcare across our public health system.  It ensures accountability, transparency and responsiveness to change.

To support me as the accountable officer and to provide focus and consistency within decision-making, executive sub-committees will be established.

The sub-committees will have clinical representation and input in addition to functional expertise and will empower our local executive management teams to focus on local business decisions within consistent budget, policy and strategic direction settings.

Engaging clinicians and consumers consistently in our health system will be key to strengthening our governance structure. We will continue to build on existing relationships with the Consumer and Community Engagement Councils.

While further work is required to establish and embed these governance arrangements, the new governance framework is as follows:

Governance Framework

New Lines of Accountability

To effectively deliver the new executive and governance arrangements, we will implement new lines of accountability that support and strengthen local management and deliver a clear corporate structure.

Key changes include:

  • The Executive Director Operations in each region will be renamed Chief Executive Hospitals (South and North/North West), will report directly to the Secretary and be members of Health Executive.  In addition, these roles will assume the local management of Hospital Support Services (Food Services, House Services, Medical Orderlies and associated functions) and local accreditation and quality and patient safety teams. Statewide quality and patient safety functions will be coordinated through the Deputy Secretary, Clinical Regulation and Accreditation.
  • A new role of Deputy Secretary, Community, Mental Health and Wellbeing will be established and responsible for the coordinated delivery of key community-facing health services, including Ambulance Tasmania, Mental Health, Public Health, Population and Preventative Health/Wellbeing and non-acute State-wide Services.  The role will report directly to the Secretary and be a member of the Health Executive.
  • A role of Executive Director of Business Improvement and Reform will oversee implementation of key health reform projects including the Statewide Access and Patient Flow Program.
  • The role of Director, Office of the Secretary will be broadened to strengthen support for the Secretary in the areas of corporate governance, risk, legal, audit and communications.
  • To provide consistent professional and corporate services, functional areas across the Department and THS will be brought together.  Further planning and consideration will be undertaken before these services can be fully amalgamated.

New Organisation Chart

Whilst the new structure will result in a change of reporting lines for several groups and a redistribution of executive responsibilities, your current employment and packaging arrangements (if applicable) will continue to apply and you will continue to provide the same quality services to our patients and clients as you do every day.

Professional Leadership

Statewide professional lead positions were established within the THS to assist professional leads at facilities to deliver a consistent statewide service. With an integrated structure, there is the opportunity for the local professional leads to develop a closer relationship with the clinical leads within the Department.

To facilitate this:

  • The position of Executive Director Medical Profession will be abolished and its associated duties re-allocated to the current Executive Directors of Medical Services in the THS and the Department of Health’s Chief Medical Officer. Dr Xabregas will continue to support us in improving the health system by undertaking the new role of Executive Director Medical Governance within the Department.
  • The Executive Director Nursing and Midwifery will be abolished and its associated duties re-allocated to the Department of Health’s Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, and Executive Directors of Nursing. I would like to thank Ms Coral Paton for her commitment in acting in this role.  Coral will return to her role as Executive Director of Nursing (South).
  • The Executive Director of Allied Health will retain its current state-wide operational role under the direction of Deputy Secretary Community Mental Health and Wellbeing.

Executive Staff Movements

To ensure that the new lines of accountability can come into effect, on 2 March 2020 the following senior staff movements will occur:

  • Mr Ross Smith will commence acting in the new position of Deputy Secretary Community, Mental Health and Wellbeing while a nationwide recruitment process is undertaken.
  • Mr Craig Watson will continue to support us in improving the health system by undertaking the role of Executive Director of Business Improvement and Reform.
  • Mr Craig Jeffery will commence in the role of Chief Financial Officer. Craig has over 25 years experience in the Department of Treasury and Finance and is a leading senior manager and accounting specialist within the finance and accounting areas across the State Service.
  • Ms Eleanor Patterson will transfer to the Department of Treasury and Finance to fill the position vacated by Mr Jeffery. Eleanor has been with the Department for nearly 17 years in the portfolio area of Budget and Finance and has provided strong financial leadership, dedication and professionalism during this time.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the THS Executive for their valuable support in transitioning the organisation under the THS Act. I acknowledge their contributions in support of continued improvements in the quality of healthcare in Tasmania.

As we commence transition and implementation of the new structure, we will continue to provide you with regular updates regarding the changes.

It is only natural that some employees may feel uncertain at this time. Remember, you can always chat with your manager or HR representative if you have any questions or concerns.

I thank you for your on-going commitment and dedication to providing the many and varied health services we deliver to Tasmanians. I am looking forward to working with all staff in our health system, consumers and the wider Tasmanian community, as we work together to improve health services.

Kathrine Morgan-Wicks