The Rural and Regional Health Partnerships (Health Partnerships) were established in 2016, through targeted funding to six Regional Area Health Partnerships (RAHP) and one Local Area Health Partnership. 

In 2018-19, the Department of Health and Human Services (the department) expanded funding to include 13 Local Area Health Partnerships (LAHP) and concurrently broadened the Health Partnership's scope of work to five partnership functional areas:

  • planning and networks
  • workforce
  • access and care
  • quality and safety 
  • key enablers. 

The RAHP and LAHP worked in a complementary manner, the former more at a strategic level and the latter an operational level. Throughout 2018-19 the focus was on developing key relationships, implementing governance structures and planning work. 

About the 2020 guidelines

The 2020 Guidelines set the framework and expectations for the Health Partnerships to continue to build on their strong foundations, work with more consistency state-wide and to narrow the focus of work to achieve and document outcomes. Key changes in 2020 include:

  • Aligning the guidelines with the Safer Care Victoria Clinical Governance Framework 2017
  • Replacing the five partnership functional areas with three Key Activity Areas (KAA): Clinical Governance Support, Workforce and Corporate Effectiveness
  • Clarifying the required governance structures and core principles of partnering
  • Improving reporting of Health Partnerships projects and initiatives to demonstrate quantifiable outcomes.

The department will work closely with the Health Partnerships through 2020 to ensure that work plans and reports align with the guidelines and that expertise, knowledge and successes are shared state-wide.     

These guidelines detail the requirements for Health Partnerships for the 2020 year and they outline the department’s expectations for how all Health Partnerships are required to operate. The 2020 guidelines focus on:

  • aligning the activities, deliverables and reporting with the Safer Care Victoria Clinical Governance Framework 2017 to provide state wide consistency and alignment with existing reporting processes
  • clarifying the department's expectations regarding governance arrangements and decision making
  • how the Health Partnerships should demonstrate the impacts and outcomes of their work.

The guidelines also seek to embed Health Partnerships as a platform for future system reform and development, a role evident throughout the Statewide design, service and infrastructure plan for Victoria's health system 2017 – 2037 (the Statewide Plan).