The public health system in NSW is recognised or established under the Health Services Act 1997.
Local health districts, statutory health corporations, and affiliated health organisations are referred to under the Health Services Act 1997 as Public Health Organisations.
Minister for Health
Under the Health Services Act 1997, the Minister’s role includes:
- appointing the chairs and members of local health district and specialty network boards
- determining the amounts of monies to be paid from consolidated funds to public health organisations
- directing public health organisations to obtain certain support services from the Secretary
- determining additional functions for statutory health corporations.
The Minister also has powers and functions under the Health Administration Act 1982. These include:
- formulating general policies for the purpose of promoting, protecting, developing, maintaining and improving the health and well-being of the people of New South Wales
- providing, operating and maintaining health services, as well as where necessary, improving and extending services
- arranging for the construction of any buildings or works necessary for health services.
Secretary of NSW Health
Under the Health Services Act the Secretary is responsible for governance, oversight and control of the public health system.
Local health districts
Local health districts are established as statutory corporations under the Health Services Act 1997. They are responsible for managing public hospitals and health institutions and for providing health services to defined geographical areas of the State. The primary purposes of a local health district, as set out in section 9 of the Health Services Act 1997, are to:
- provide relief to sick and injured people through the provision of care and treatment
- promote, protect and maintain the health of the community.
The Health Services Act provides for the making of By-laws. Section 39 also provides for the Secretary to issue a Model By-Law for all LHDs, which is published in the Government Gazette. Prior to making the By-law, the Secretary seeks the advice of the NSW Medical Services Committee. In adopting the Model By-law, an LHD may seek approval of the Secretary to variations of the Model. These will in turn be generally subject to advice from the Medical Service Committee.
By-laws generally include provisions for process of LHD business, including the establishment and procedure for LHD sub committees and other entities, including the Medical Staff Councils, Medical Staff Executive Councils, Hospital Clinical Councils and the credentialing and appointments committees and sub-committees.