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About the award

The People and Culture Award recognises projects that support our workforce to deliver safe, reliable, person-centred care that drives the best outcomes and experience for patients and staff.

Projects in this category demonstrates support the NSW Health workforce by:

  • working collaboratively within the NSW Health system to improve health outcomes, including financial, IT, productivity, and workforce projects, initiatives or programs
  • growing and supporting a skilled workforce by hiring and developing the right people, with the right skills, at the right time
  • building positive work environments that bring out the best in everyone including wellbeing programs and initiatives
  • strengthening diversity in our workforce and decision-making
  • developing effective health professional managers and leaders
  • improved systems and efficiencies to support better workplace safety and health outcomes and practices
  • support for long-term behaviour change to strengthen the staff health safety culture
  • increased awareness of the importance of personal safety alongside patient safety
  • enhanced access and training in workplace health, wellbeing and safety.

Winner – The Murrumbidgee Model

Murrumbidgee Local Health District


In regional areas of NSW, General Practitioners (GPs) play a crucial role in providing both primary and hospital health care. The number of GPs in rural areas has been declining. This has led to patients waiting longer for appointments or not being able to find a GP for their care needs.

The Murrumbidgee Model was designed to address these challenges. The program aims to attract, train, retain, and support rural generalist doctors who work in the local health district.

The Murrumbidgee Single Employer Model is a 4-year pilot project with the Australian Government that began in 2021. This pathway provides trainees with certainty. Trainees know where they'll work, how much they'll earn, and their working conditions.

The pathway focuses on supporting rural GPs to develop the advanced skills needed for rural hospitals and is expanding the rural medical workforce by offering a personalised and coordinated pathway for GP trainees.

The Murrumbidgee Model pathway offers a proactive, practical, and ongoing recruitment and training approach. This ensures that communities have the right doctors with the right skills in the right places. Trainees are guaranteed employment during their training program, which eliminates the differences between GP trainees and specialist trainees working in public hospitals.

Finalist – Optimising Leadership: An Informed and Sustainable Gateway

Northern NSW Local Health District


The Leadership Academy is an interactive online leadership development gateway, created specifically for unit managers in Northern NSW Local Health District. The Academy was informed by an in-depth study exploring the support, education and resource needs of our unit managers.

This initiative is a first for NSW Health. It aims to create an engaged network of unit managers who would be fully equipped and supported to lead effective, productive and agile clinical teams.

The Leadership Academy successfully addressed several issues:

  • the sustainability of learning programs
  • the amount of information unit managers needs to access from multiple sources
  • isolation from peers

A multi-method evaluation has indicated that the Academy has met and surpassed the needs of the unit manager cohort. Feedback indicates that the program:

  • created a strong community and support network, harnessing the power and knowledge of the unit managers group
  • motivated members to prioritise and engage in education to develop as a leaders
  • improved leadership, particularly in communication, engaging and empowering teams
  • significantly increased members accessing coaching and mentoring
  • helped members feel recognised and valued by the District
  • improved use of systems including rostering, performance appraisals and financial management
  • increased time management and efficiency for unit managers. This is achieved by providing one central place to tie in all information, support and education required for their roles.

Finalist – Wellbeing Workshop

NSW Ambulance


The Wellbeing Workshop is a program designed to support NSW Ambulance staff be well, safe and protected at work. The workshop provides employees with the knowledge, capabilities and support for them to take charge of their mental and physical health.

The team developed a suite of knowledge, strategies and tools, which help employees manage their:

  • wellbeing; mental health and resilience
  • physical health
  • personal safety and risk
  • violence prevention in the workplace.

Workshops ran over three days in Sydney for operational employees, and 1 1/4 days for nonoperational employees. The workshop also offers networking, and peer support opportunities.

Between 2018 and 2023:

  • 6520 employees (94%), completed the workshop
  • 211 workshops were held
  • workshops were also delivered in regional locations.

The workshop is a staple in new employees inductions and has been adapted into an online refresher.

Post-workshop surveys show strong staff support with 84% of employees noting a positive change in their wellbeing. Similarly, 84% of staff said that they feel more confident in their professional judgement being well, safe and protected. These strong results have drawn attention of emergency and ambulance services around the country seeking tools to improve employee wellbeing.

Finalist – Culture Improvement Program, Digital Health

South Eastern Sydney Local Health District


Culture improvement programs are not new, and there are many ways to implement culture frameworks. The difference with this program was proving that culture improvement can be done virtually, as a team, in a very complex and often chaotic shared service workplace.

A series of Cultural Improvement workshops were held in 2022. Prior to these workshops, Digital Health were underperforming on the People Matters Employment Survey (PMES) results compared to their peers. They circulated expressions of interests for volunteers to review their historical PMES results. A group of diverse individuals were recruited and developed actions in response to feedback from these surveys. The team openly discussed their shortcomings and planned to rectify these in monthly all-staff virtual townhall meetings.

The success of this program was showcased by before and after PMES results. This resulted in the largest net engagement increase across the entire South Eastern Sydney Local Health District. A total of 14% increase year on year.

Examples included:

  • "Senior managers listen to employees" (increased from 14% in 2021 to 73% in 2022)
  • "I am confident my organisation will act on the results of this survey" (increased from 22% in 2021 to 74% in 2022)
  • "Senior managers model the value of my organisation" (increased from 24% in 2021 to 76% in 2022)
  • "Senior managers provide clear direction for the future of the organisation (increased from 26% in 2021 to 74% in 2022).
Current as at: Tuesday 24 October 2023
Contact page owner: NSW Health