In April 2016 the Department of Health and Human Services released its strategy Our pathway to change: eliminating bullying and harassment in healthcare.

Our pathway to change promotes and drives a consistent approach to facilitating culture change, ensuring equity and diversity, addressing bullying and harassment and promoting the safety of staff and patients. It recognises the importance of actively driving culture change from a system perspective as well as at the local service level. 

The strategy is underpinned by three pillars:

  • Leadership and accountability - Leaders understand the risk of bullying, harassment and negative workplace cultures, and their responsibility to apply strategies that improve culture and reduce risks will be important to shift organisational responses.
  • Capability building - Information is critical to ascertain the true prevalence of the problem and target actions and initiatives to address common issues from a system-wide perspective. Building capability to better collect and use information is a key enabler of the change we need. Actions will be taken that advance knowledge and support systems that enable the department, health service leaders and staff to act appropriately and learn and develop. 
  • Environment - Giving consideration to the environment to support initiatives in leadership and capability development is essential for culture change to occur. 

As system manager, the department is leading a large program of work to deliver key projects outlined in the strategy. Shifting deeply ingrained cultural and behavioural norms across diverse organisations in the health system will require coordinated and sustained effort.

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