Strategic Direction

We deliver this strategy together

The collective ‘we’ emphasises our connection within and beyond Western Health and our unwavering commitment to working in true partnership with our patients, people and communities.

Our Strategy


Together, we deliver the healthcare of the future.


Providing the Best Care for the people of the West, in the right place and at the right time.

Guiding Principles
  • Simple
  • Sustainable
  • Connected
  • Innovative
  • Compassion
  • Accountability
  • Respect
  • Excellence
  • Safety

Strategic Directions

  1. We partner with patients and families

  2. We care for our people

  3. We deliver services for the future

  4. We are better together

  5. We discover and learn

Strategic Direction

We partner
with patients
and families

Our patients and families are actively involved in their care and connected to the right services.

We are one community of patients, carers and healthcare professionals working together to improve the experience, health and wellbeing of the diverse people of the West. People of all cultures, identities and abilities—through all stages of their lives—have a voice and are listened to at Western Health.

  • Key initiatives
    • Increase virtual care options
    • Expand measuring and reporting of outcomes and experience
    • Co-design Partnering with Patients model
    • Create new spaces for families, carers and patients to connect
    • Embed our Equity and Inclusion Framework
    • Expand tailored healthcare options
    • Target initiatives to enhance patient care, safety and wellbeing
    • Enhance and increase access to tailored patient communication
  • Measuring our impact
    • Improved clinical outcomes and patient experience
    • Improved patient satisfaction
    • Improved services, technologies and communications

Strategic Direction

We care for
our people

Our staff and volunteers are supported, engaged and equipped to embrace a dynamic future.

Best People deliver Best Care. At Western Health we value the diversity, authenticity, leadership, ‘can-do’ attitude, talent and compassion that our staff and volunteers bring to their work every day. We develop and attract best talent and support our people to continue their great work by fostering a culture of innovation, inclusion, wellbeing and safety.

  • Key initiatives
    • Review work design, staffing models and roles to support our staff and volunteers
    • Strengthen cross-functional learning through cohesive curriculum
    • Expand leadership program for emerging and existing leaders
    • Extend volunteer program
    • Improve diversity and equity strategies
    • Boost safety, health and wellbeing programs
    • Implement new talent management system
    • Undertake strategic workforce planning
    • Enhance recruitment and retention of clinical specialists
    • Build on existing expertise through training, mentoring and support
    • Enhance tailored flexible work approaches and policies
  • Measuring our impact
    • High staff engagement
    • Staffing requirements met
    • Increased diversity in staffing and leadership profiles
    • High learning program participation rates

Strategic Direction

We deliver
services for
the future

Our services are expanding within and beyond hospital walls, advancing high-quality and connected care.

We are acting now for the future so that we continue to meet the needs of the rapidly growing, multicultural and socio-economically diverse community of the West. By strengthening our care options, and building a virtually connected health system, we can deliver equitable and timely access to our services and provide patients with greater choice.

  • Key initiatives
    • Pilot integrated multidisciplinary approaches for people with high-risk needs
    • Strengthen timely access to care
    • Develop efficient pathways through care
    • Align clinical practices and support to ensure consistency of care as we grow
    • Maximise and integrate technologically advanced equipment and devices
    • Expand in-home and virtual care options
    • Collaborate in co-designing care models and hospital environments
    • Continue the planning and construction of new hospitals and services
    • Develop the Western Health strategic clinical services plan
    • Strengthen long-term operational and financial performance
    • Optimise our communities’ health and wellbeing through the Western Public Health Unit
    • Enable and ensure access to reliable, timely and secure data
    • Deliver our Digital Health strategy
  • Measuring our impact
    • Achieve performance targets
    • Expanded alternative options to presenting at Emergency Departments
    • More days in home and out of hospital
    • Increase uptake of virtual and in-home care
    • Care models and capital projects delivered on time and within budget

Strategic Direction

We are better

Our respectful relationships with our community, system-wide partners and each other drive collaboration and better outcomes.

Every day, we engage and collaborate with healthcare providers, academic partners and colleagues to improve the health and wellbeing of our communities. Together, we listen, learn and act to achieve better patient outcomes and drive system reform.

  • Key initiatives
    • New partnership strategy
    • Collaborative model for new Community Hospitals
    • Strengthen local collaboration to support preventative initiatives
    • Strengthen links with community organisations
    • Improve shared care models and referral pathways with GPs
    • Improve integrated technology and connected systems
    • Implement a coordinated approach to managing projects
    • Strengthen collaboration with university partners
    • Build stronger connections between researchers, educators, clinical leaders and frontline staff
  • Measuring our impact
    • Increased referral pathways
    • Increased participation in projects and committees
    • Development of an innovative model of care for Community Hospitals
    • Improved outcomes for patients with multiple, chronic or complex conditions
    • Improved, productive relationships with partners

Strategic Direction

We discover
and learn

Our innovation, research and education inspires and benefits our patients, staff and communities, to deliver a better future.

We are curious, forward-thinking, life-long learners. We question, investigate, evaluate, adapt and innovate as we share, mentor, encourage and learn. Inspired by the community of the West, our aspiration is to deliver a global impact and excel as a centre of expertise for translational and health service research.

  • Key initiatives
    • Develop a comprehensive research plan
    • Targeted workforce planning to improve research and educator capacity and capability
    • New methodology for quality improvement and implementing translational research
    • Progress technology for data sources, collection, analysis and reporting
    • Increased consumer and community engagement in research design and delivery
    • Improved participation in research, education and quality improvement initiatives
    • Develop virtual, remote and interactive delivery of education and training
    • Expanded specialist knowledge
    • Develop implementation pathway to embed operational sustainability
    • Implement decision making frameworks leading to increased sustainability
  • Measuring our impact
    • Health service of choice for graduate placements
    • Health service of choice for advanced training
    • Increased research grants, philanthropic funding and collaboration
    • Increased staff participation in education, research and quality improvement initiatives
    • Strengthened financial, operational and environmental sustainability
    • Increased knowledge gained through education programs

Driving factors that shape our future

Community expectations

Patients have emphasised to us that family, carers and advocates are critical to their care and that clear communication is central to making informed decisions. In addition, the development of technology over the last year has provided opportunities for patients to better access care services from home. These findings and trends motivate us to continue to work together with patients and families to empower their decision making and realise the benefits of technology to improve access to care.

There is a global trend and

increasing opportunities for

patients to be actively involved

in their care.

Prioritising our people

Western Health staff are exceptional. They are committed to their work, treat each other with respect and respond to challenges with conviction. Our culture is built on a foundation of support, trust, communication, innovation, safety and respect. The strength of our culture will continue to be key to attracting and retaining talented and compassionate people as we grow and approach a different and constantly changing future.

The increasing demand and

complexity of our services,

expansions in locations, more

remote work, digitization

and system-wide skills

shortages all directly impact

our people.



Full Time Equivalent




A growing and diverse population

The community of the West is multicultural, socioeconomically diverse and among the fastest-growing in Australia. People in the West have a relatively higher burden of disease, especially in chronic disease, certain types of cancer and mental illness. Our growing, diverse population, and its unique health needs, drives our capital expansion plans and motivates us to provide appropriate care models, environments and support services.






Building a sustainable Health Service

As we experience increasing health costs, Western Health has a responsibility to use resources wisely, provide best value for communities, ensure funds are well directed and innovate in areas that reduce the burden of disease. We continue to lead in sustainability through infrastructure design and renewal and through our strategies to reduce our carbon footprint and minimise waste.



Working across the health system

Western Health has a strong track record of working across the care continuum and beyond organisational boundaries. We will continue to work with our partners and neighbouring health services to address shared challenges, spark innovation and drive system reform to improve the health of all Victorians.

Collaboration will be

a key lever to implement

system reform. It requires

more than an individual

health service.

New places and ways to deliver our care

Digitally enabled and at-home models of care have grown at a larger scale and faster pace across Australia through the impact of COVID-19 and developments in technology. At Western Health we will continue to deliver Best Care within and beyond hospital walls, focussing on continuity of care, irrespective of place.



Hospital stays



Accelerated digitalisation

Advances in medical and digital technology are changing healthcare. These are providing greater opportunity to gain insights in real-time, predict future events and use digital devices to complement care. This also brings greater responsibility for strong data governance and cybersecurity, while also continuing to strengthen collaboration, data analysis and access to information for patients and system partners.



Virtual contacts



Speed of innovation

At Western Health we have learned to adapt, take on new roles, and respond to our community’s needs at greater speeds than ever before. We are well positioned to maintain our momentum and drive and adopt new ways of working through our open, learning culture and commitment to innovation and change.

The COVID-19 pandemic

has driven a remarkable speed

of change and innovation.

our strategy

Implementing a dynamic strategy

In response to our rapidly changing environment, our Strategic Direction 2021–2023 balances strategy and flexibility—providing a clear direction while enabling us to respond to emerging opportunities and change. This ‘living’ strategy will be continually improved and refined through regular pulse checks to ensure it aligns with our changing circumstances and overall goals.

Underpinning activities

A broad range of underpinning strategic activities, plans and frameworks will drive our planning and implementation, including:
— Best Care
— Cultural Safety
— Research
— Digital and Data
— Positive Workplace.


Engagement, collaboration and consultation with our staff, partners and community will continue to underpin the implementation of this strategy.

On the horizon

We are aware of significant changes on the horizon that will impact our health service, including an increased and more complex demand for care and growth in services and facilities. We will continue to support our staff to adapt to new ways of working and we are expanding and upgrading our infrastructure and IT to ensure we can effectively respond to this change.

Governance and monitoring

Our robust governance ensures our progress is monitored and reported through annual and operational planning and budgeting processes. Our performance and delivery of this strategy will be transparently shared with stakeholders through these processes.

About Western Health

Our communities

As a major healthcare provider to one of the fastest growing and most diverse regions of Australia, Western Health is committed to providing Best Care and improving health outcomes for all. Our communities face substantial social and economic disadvantages, and our population also has higher-than-average rates of cancer, heart disease, stroke and mental illness. In addition, diabetes, depression and frailty present significant population health issues.

Our people

Employing more than 7000 staff and over 600 volunteers, we are focused on enabling and supporting the culture and capability of all people across the organisation. In addition, we continue to enjoy long-standing relationships with health providers in the western region of Melbourne, as well as strong affiliations with numerous colleges and academic institutions.

Our services

Western Health provides a comprehensive, integrated range of clinical services from various sites ranging from acute tertiary services through to subacute care and onsite and virtual ambulatory clinics. We also provide specialised services, as well as a combination of hospital, community-based, and in-reach services as well as in-home care.

Underpinning Western Health’s world-class clinical care is our commitment to research and education. We are a Registered Training Organisation that offers high quality training and innovative programs. We also provide a range of purpose-built, state-of-the-art teaching, research and simulation facilities to students, researchers, academics and educators.

Our locations

Western Health manages three acute public hospitals: Sunshine Hospital (including Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s), Footscray Hospital and Williamstown Hospital. We also operate the Sunbury Day Hospital and Hazeldean in Williamstown.

We grow with our communities — our major projects ensure we continue to provide Best Care into the future:

  • New Footscray Hospital:

    A new state-of-the-art tertiary facility that will treat approximately 15,000 additional patients and enable around 20,000 additional people to be seen by the emergency department each year.

  • Sunshine Hospital Emergency Department:

    A $34.8 million redevelopment to enable an extra 59,000 emergency patients to be treated every year.

  • Sunshine Women’s Prevention and Recovery Care (PARC):

    A new community-based, short-term supported residential service designed to accommodate patients and their young children.

  • Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s:

    A new world-class maternity and paediatric facility that includes the first neonatal intensive care unit in the western suburbs.

  • New Melton Hospital:

    A new tertiary centre to provide a wide range of acute and subacute services to one of the fastest growing areas of Australia.

  • Community Hospitals:

    New Community Hospitals in Point Cook and an expansion in Sunbury will orovide a range of services responding to local need and in an accessible, integrated care setting.

  • Mental Health beds at Sunshine:

    A new 52-bed Adult Acute Mental Health Inpatient service to provide psychiatric assessment, care and treatment.

  • Williamstown Community Hub:

    The ‘Heart of Williamstown’ public fundraising campaign generated $2.5 million for Redevelopment of Williamstown Hospital’s main public areas into a central visitor hub.