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October 2016

A word from the Secretary

photo of Kym Peake, Secretary of Department of Health and Human Services


I am pleased to share with you the first fully revised edition of
In focus – the Department of Health and Human Services’ news for the Victorian health, community and social services sector.
I know some of you will be receiving In focus for the first time, and within it you will find updates on our priorities and reforms across health, human services, sport and recreation.

The department’s vision is for all Victorians to be healthy, safe and able to lead a life
they value.

Our In focus newsletter will provide you with bi-monthly updates on key developments, including how we are progressing against each of our four key strategic directions:

1.     person centred services and care and how we are considering all of the influences on a person’s health and wellbeing

2.     local solutions and how place-based and community-centred approaches affect people’s health and wellbeing

3.     earlier and more connected support and how health and human services systems need to connect with people at every touch point, not just when they are sick and disadvantaged; and,

4.     advancing quality, safety and innovation and our commitment to advance patient and client safety, the effectiveness of interventions and the experience of people relying on health and human services systems.

Last week, the Victorian Government released the Review of Hospital Safety and Quality Assurance in Victoria providing a detailed and extensive analysis into how the Department of Health and Human Services oversee and support quality and safety of care in Victoria’s hospitals.

The review was commissioned by the Minister for Health and consulted widely, seeking the views and experiences of patients, clinicians, hospital managers and boards about how to make Victoria's healthcare systems safer.

The review makes it clear that we need to elevate patient safety and quality in the Victorian hospital system, so that the care that patients receive is consistently world-class, continuously improving and supported to achieve the best outcomes for patients.

The Victorian Government and the Department of Health and Human Services accepts all the recommendations of the review. Work is already underway to implement the recommendations under four main areas of emphasis:

  • setting the goal that no one is harmed in our hospitals
  • supporting strong leadership in hospital governance – with good clinical leaders, effective boards and rigorous oversight
  • sharing excellence across our health system – so that where one hospital does something well, others can follow suit; and
  • collecting data about patients’ experiences and feeding that back across the system to improve patient care.

Victorians deserve to know that should things go wrong, their needs will be dealt with swiftly and transparently, and any lessons learned will be shared across the hospital system. Patients, families and carers also need to be empowered to be partners in their own health and healthcare.

We look forward to continuing to work closely with you to deliver better outcomes for all Victorians.

Kym Peake

Person-centred services and care

Making inroads on the Roadmap for Reform

In recent months, the Victorian Government has made significant progress in implementing the actions under the Roadmap for Reform: strong families; safe children, an initiative to create better lives for vulnerable Victorian children, young people and their families.

Local solutions

Improving health and well-being in Latrobe Valley

The Latrobe Health Assembly, a key recommendation from the re-opened Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry, will be up and running by the end of the year. The Victorian Government reopened the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry in 2015 to investigate community health
concerns following the 2014 fire and consider rehabilitation at the Latrobe Valley’s coal
mines. Read more

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Accessibility to clubrooms to more women
and girls

As a result of the Victorian Government’s Inquiry into Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation, the government has invested $10 million into the Female Friendly Facilities fund – the biggest ever investment in women’s participation in sport by an Australian state government. Read more

Earlier and more connected support

Designing a family violence system with the community

The Department of Health and Human Services is working hard – as part of the whole-of-government response to the Royal Commission into Family Violence – to implement all 227 recommendations to achieve a better system that prevents violence and supports victims/survivors and their families.

A central recommendation of the Royal Commission is the establishment of the Support and Safety Hubs to make it easier for vulnerable families and children – including victims/survivors of family violence and families with children at risk of abuse or neglect – to access services when and where they need them. Read more

Quality, safety and innovation

Innovation in social housing

The Victorian Government is better supporting vulnerable people with the new Victorian Housing Register. People applying for social housing can now do so through a single system, bringing together public and community housing applications, so that people only need to apply once. The register has been developed together with the sector, to provide a more integrated system. Read more

Emergency preparedness for summer

Summer is coming and it’s time to review your agency's emergency management plans, to help you prepare for and respond to emergencies like heatwaves, bushfires, storms and floods. Up to date plans will help you to minimise the risks to and impacts on the health, safety and well being of your patients, clients and staff. Read more

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Beat the bite

Recent heavy rains and floods in September and October 2016 have created large amounts of stagnant water across the state, making it ideal breeding conditions for mosquitos. While mosquitos are annoying and can leave a nasty bite, some mosquitoes can carry and spread serious diseases. Read more

In brief

Annual report 2015–16 Victorian Department of Health and Human Services

Department of Health and Human Services Annual report

The annual report which highlights the department’s achievements over the 2015–16 financial year was tabled in the Victorian Parliament on Thursday, 13 October. Read more

Not-for-profit news
Stay up to date with what's happening across the not for profit sector. 


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In focus is the Department of Health and Human Services e-newsletter for the funded and not-for-profit sectors.

Except where otherwise indicated, the images in this publication show models and illustrative settings only,
and do not necessarily depict actual services, facilities or recipients of services. This publication may contain images
of deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

If you would like to receive this publication in an accessible format, please phone (03) 9096 7468
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ISSN 1839 6100

This publication is also available on the department’s website on

Authorised and published by the Victorian Government, 1 Treasury Place, Melbourne.
© State of Victoria, October 2016

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