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Hunter New England Local Health District

Safety and Quality Account

2021-22 Report
2022-23 Future Priorities

Our steadfast commitment to providing safe and quality healthcare to those across Hunter New England has not wavered, despite a challenging year in the ongoing fight against COVID-19.

Among the many learnings to come from living and working through a pandemic has been the value that arises from access to timely, quality healthcare – and COVID-19 has allowed us to reimagine the way we provide clinical services.

We’ve delivered a record number of virtual care consultations, bringing world-class specialists into the homes of rural families, and we’ve implemented several workforce development strategies to increase access to allied health professionals in regional communities.

Our teams continued their focus on improving the way we support and care for our community, as well as making the best use of our resources. As an example, we made significant strides toward improving maternity care, becoming one of four health districts across NSW to get involved in the research phase of a national initiative to reduce the number of stillborn babies.

The Safer Baby Bundle, is a bundle of five interventions that reduce the risk of stillbirth. A collaboration between our Population Health unit and Maternity services, the program is evidence-based and contributes to best-practice maternity care – and we’re delighted to be leading the way in this area.

We are very pleased to endorse this year’s Safety and Quality 2021-22 Account. A reflection on how we performed this past year, our achievements and further plans to improve the support we provide to patients across the Hunter, New England and Lower Mid North Coast.

This report outlines other valuable programs across our District, and how we’re striving to create a healthy and safe environment for our colleagues, and the patients we have the privilege to care for. We look forward to seeing all that’s achieved in patient care in the coming year ahead.


Michael Dirienzo
Michael Dirienzo | Chief Executive
Martin Cohen
Martin Cohen | Board Chair

Snapshot of achievements over the previous 12 months

The initiatives below are a few of the improvements undertaken as part of key focus areas and are aligned to the District’s Strategic and Operational Plans. These and other initiatives are described in more detail throughout this year's Safety and Quality Account.

Safer Baby Bundle

Working together to reduce stillbirth

Safer Baby Bundle initiative icon


Supporting parents to pack healthy school lunchboxes

Thumbnail image of lunchbox linking to SWAP IT project

Virtual Pharmacy Model

Improving medication safety in mental health units

Icon for the Virtual Pharmacy project

Food Allergy Management

Keeping patients with food allergies safe during their stay in hospital

Food Allergy Management logo

Yarning up After Stroke

Engaging with community to co-design solutions

Thumbnail image of Moving Forward artwork from the Yarning up After Stroke project

Processes and Structures that Support Safety and Quality

Hunter New England Local Health District includes 27 hospitals, 12 multipurpose services, and more that 60 community health services. Ensuring that care is safe and high-quality across such a large service requires planning, coordination, and governance. Planning includes the District's Strategic and Operational Plans. These documents set out the District's goals and expectations, as well as the priority actions and initiatives that help us achieve the goals. Governance includes the systems that monitor the safety and quality of the many clinical services across the District.

In the tabs below are examples of structures and processes that support the provision of safe, high-quality care across the District.

Hunter New England Local Health District’s actions and initiatives are aligned with the strategic priorities of the NSW government and the Ministry of Health. The Planning and Accountability Framework (below) shows how various plans relate to each other from State level to the individual level.

Operational planning at the District level is led by the Chief Executive in collaboration with the Executive Leadership Team (ELT). Priority areas are identified by the various networks and facilities in alignment with priorities set by the Ministry and District. Progress towards targets on operational plans at each level is monitored through Monthly Accountability Meetings, 90 Day Action Plans, and reports to the ELT.

Flowchart illustrating HNELHD Planning and Accountability Framework

The strategy map is our strategic plan on a single page. It outlines our vision, purpose, goals, core values and enablers. Enablers are key systems, tools, and ways of working which support us to reach our goals. Our strategic actions are arranged into six domains in the lower half of the map.

The strategic plan provides the framework for working together to achieve our goals, and is a key component of our Accountability Framework.

Flowchart illustrating HNELHD Strategy Map

The Clinical Quality and Patient Care Framework has been developed to ensure that the systems necessary to support the delivery of safe and high quality care for patients and consumers are in place across the Local Health District (LHD). The framework supports and promotes good clinical governance.

The Framework is supported by the following Committee structure that shows the relationships and reporting lines of the many committees and groups that have responsibilities for ensuring safe and high quality care across the District. It allows communication and escalation from the ward to the Board.

Flowchart depicting HNELHD Clinical Quality and Patient Care Framework and the Quality Committee Structure