Annual Report 2020-21 Yorke and Northern Local Health Network


Hon Stephen Wade MLC
Minister for Health and Wellbeing

This annual report will be presented to Parliament to meet the statutory reporting requirements of Health Act 2008 and the Health Care (Governance) Amendment Act 2021 and the requirements of Premier and Cabinet Circular PC013 Annual Reporting.
This report is verified to be accurate for the purposes of annual reporting to the Parliament of South Australia.

Submitted on behalf of the Yorke and Northern Local Health Network by
Roger Kirchner
Chief Executive Officer
Yorke and Northern Local Health Network

Date: 30 September 2021

John Voumard
Yorke and Northern Local Health Network Governing Board
Date: 30 September 2021

Acknowledgement to Traditional Custodians
The Yorke and Northern Local Health Network acknowledges the Aboriginal Custodians of the Land and Waters within the Footprint of the Yorke and Northern Local Health Network. We respect their spiritual relationship with their country and acknowledge their cultural beliefs are an important focus of the past, present and future. We acknowledge Elders and emerging Leaders.

From the Governing Board Chair

It has been two years since the Yorke and Northern Local Health Network (YNLHN) Governing Board was established. I thank everyone within the Local Health Network for their continued support and commitment to providing Yorke and Northern communities with outstanding health services. The Governing Board is continually grateful for the dedication of staff, Health Advisory Councils, our rural doctors, partners and volunteers, and their achievements to date.

Since our inception, we could not have imagined some of the extraordinary events that would unfold locally, nationally and worldwide. Yet, despite the impacts of significant and unforeseen circumstances, YNLHN has met challenges and achieved important milestones over the past twelve months, ultimately focused on our strategic vision and commitment to be 'leaders in exceptional rural healthcare'.

In line with our commitment to deliver on the requirements of the Health Care
(Governance) Amendment Act 2018
, we were pleased to launch our five-year YNLHN Strategic Plan, our Consumer and Community Engagement Strategy and our Clinician Engagement Strategy; all premised by our collective purpose to deliver safe, high-quality holistic services that improve the health and wellbeing of the Yorke and Northern communities.

The development and release of the abovementioned frameworks present significant milestones for the YNLHN and demonstrate an outstanding collaborative effort in developing genuine consumer-focused strategies. I look forward to sharing the progress and service improvements over the next five years.

A substantial challenge across the YNLHN and in regional South Australia is the recruitment and retention of rural general practitioners (GP) in our rural communities. The Governing Board has continued to work with executive staff, our GPs and the Rural Support Service to develop a long-term solution. This collaboration includes identifying alternative medical models to enable communities access to GPs in the region.

This year, the Governing Board welcomed an opportunity to take stock of our performance and processes by undertaking a Board Review. We engaged an independent consultancy to help us with a rigorous review process, assessing current Board members, performance, and operations and providing recommendations for improvement. We look forward to implementing the review findings to ensure that the Board delivers effective governance and oversight, with appropriate strategic focus and positive outcomes.

In 2020, we said farewell to Board Member, Yvonne Warncken, and I thank her for her invaluable contributions as an inaugural member of the Governing Board and YNLHN as a whole. We have also welcomed new Board Members, John O'Connor, who provides high-level finance expertise and David Banham, a nationally recognised epidemiologist who has made a family tree change to the Clare Valley. John and David's contributions and the unique knowledge of all Governing Board members have enabled the Governing Board to take a holistic approach to our decision-making.

I also want to thank YNLHN Board Members; Julianne Badenoch, Glenise Coulthard AM, and Liz Malcolm. All who continue to show dedication and commitment to work of the Governing Board all the success of the YNLHN.

Finally, I wish to thank Chief Executive Officer, Roger Kirchner, Director, Governance and Leadership Support, Leeanne Peters, Executive members, and all YNLHN employees for their ongoing dedication and contribution and their embodiment of the YNLHN organisational values; Integrity, Excellence. Engagement, Innovation, Equity and Care.

The year ahead will test us again, but I know YNLHN will approach it with courage and determination. The Governing Board will remain aware of our communities' challenges through the continuing pandemic and stand poised to provide directions that best support Yorke and Northern communities.

John Voumard
Yorke and Northern Local Health Network Inc Governing Board

From the Chief Executive Officer

2020-21 has been unprecedented for the Yorke and Northern Local Health Network (YNLHN). Like other organisations across the state and Australia, we navigated our way through the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic while remaining firmly focused on our core purpose – to deliver safe, high-quality services that improve the health and wellbeing of Yorke and Northern communities.

It has been two years since our establishment, and we have made significant headway in our strategic priorities. We have a robust blueprint to; grow as an integrated network, provide care responsive to our communities, creatively design our services, build strong partnerships, optimise technology and innovation, and develop a skilled and engaged workforce.
Significant events in the YNLHN this year include:

  • New Wallaroo Stomal Therapy Service established providing stomal services support in the Lower Yorke Peninsula region.
  • Appointment of Patrick Kinnear to the position of Director, Aboriginal Health for the YNLHN.
    Reaccredited as a White Ribbon Workplace and implemented White Ribbon Mandatory Online Training in March 2021.
  • Commencement of a Mobile Acute Mental Health Service six-month trial in Port Pirie, enhancing access to specialist clinical mental health assessments and interventions.
  • YNLHN 2020-25 Strategic Plan and regional brand was launched to enhance the YNLHN identity in Yorke and Northern communities.
  • Established a YNLHN COVID-19 Vaccination Team to implement the COVID-19 vaccination program internally and across YNLHN.
  • Commenced service planning to identify the future needs and service opportunities for several communities. As a result, Service Plans have been completed for the Port Pirie Regional Health Service and Clare Hospital. In addition, the Balaklava Soldiers' Memorial District Hospital and Mid North Health Service Plans are underway with extensive consultation with clinicians and communities.
  • Announcement of two winners of a 2020-21 SA Nursing and Midwifery Excellence Awards – the Yorke and Northern Midwifery Group (Excellence in Person-Centred Care – Team Award) and Heather Braun (Excellence in Practice – Enrolled Nurse).
  • Achieved NDIS Surveillance Audit accreditation for three years.
  • The Minister for Health and Wellbeing visited Yorketown Hospital to officially open the refurbished procedure treatment room in April 2021.
  • Released the inaugural 2020-25 YNLHN Consumer and Community Engagement Strategy.
  • Accreditation awarded by the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS) against Equip National, including the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards, for three years.
  • Virtually launched the inaugural 2021-26 YNLHN Clinician Engagement Strategy to our clinicians and partners.
  • Established a Psychologist position to provide evidence-based psychological services to people with severe and complex mental illness.
  • Implemented a Regional Intake and Assessment Service, centralising mental health triage to manage new referrals.
  • Developed a final draft of the YNLHN 2021-23 Reconciliation Action Plan. The YNLHN Reconciliation Committee is in consultation with Reconciliation Australia to achieve final endorsement.
  • Implemented a centralised patient billing and debt management function within the YNLHN Finance Department. This has significantly reduced outstanding debts across the sites and improved the financial position of the YNLHN.
  • Commenced an Organisational Review of the YNLHN structure to ensure the effective functioning of the YNLHN as an independent Local Health Network.
  • Establishment of an innovative staffing model, CenSTaR, to deliver a centrally coordinated YNLHN recruitment and staff allocation service.
  • Commencement of a Last Day's of Life Project to improve end of life care in the acute settings across the YNLHN.
  • The People and Culture Directorate facilitated an organisational review of the YNLHN structure to better function as an independent regional network.
  • Lastly, significant investment projects have commenced addressing repairs, maintenance, and upgrades in services across YNLHN.

I thank our Governing Board, staff, Health Advisory Councils and volunteers for their fantastic  work. It has not been easy to manage the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic while also ensuring our health services continue to provide the same level of high-quality care. We continue to rise to the challenge, and we have undoubtedly advanced as an organisation. I am incredibly proud of our Local Health Network and inspired by the strong sense of camaraderie that drives success in the YNLHN.

Roger Kirchner
Chief Executive Officer
Yorke and Northern Local Health Network