Health Board Essentials: understand the director’s role in health sector governance

January 25, 2022

The VHA’s Health Board Essentials professional development program will resume in February 2022. Delivered in partnership with the Australia Centre for Healthcare Governance (ACHG), the program provides participants with a unique insight into the important role board members play in the health system.

“Being a board director in the health sector brings with it unique challenges,” Jo-Anne Moorfoot, Executive Director of the ACHG, explains. “Health is a complex industry with a range of different funding mechanisms, government requirements, high community expectations, and increasing scrutiny over the quality and safety of the healthcare provided.

“It is important that health board directors have a comprehensive understanding of the health environment, and the specific roles and responsibilities of serving on a health board, to ensure that they make informed decisions and fulfil their fiduciary obligations effectively.”

Health Board Essentials is targeted at: new board members who want to know the fundamentals of being part of a health service board, existing board members who wish to build their knowledge of the fundamentals or focus on a particular essential area, and aspiring or future board members who want to prepare to contribute to the health sector as a board member.

“If you are currently on a health board, are hoping to be appointed to a health board or interact with a board as part of your professional role, this program will provide you with the health governance fundamentals to ensure that you understand the role of the health board in governance and director’s responsibilities in the health sector,” Jo-Anne says.

Kerry Stubbings, a board director for Your Community Health and for Yea and District Memorial Hospital, is a past participant in the program. She found Health Board Essentials to be “a very helpful, accessible, and engaging development opportunity for new and experienced board directors”.

Having served as a director of a community health service and a small rural health service for three years, Kerry says she enrolled for the full program of six sessions for several reasons.

“The program certainly provided me with what I was seeking. I appreciated the quality and expertise of the presenters and the resources provided for each topic covering such key areas as clinical governance, risk management, financial statements, and partnering with consumers. Each session provided me with very helpful information and ideas which I have been able to share with my board colleagues.”

The Health Board Essentials program consists of six online modules which can be completed individually or, ideally, as a full program. Tailored specifically to the governance requirements of the health sector, the modules, each delivered over two hours, cover:

  • the Victorian health system
  • corporate governance
  • risk concepts and context
  • clinical governance
  • finance fundamentals
  • partnering with consumers.

In addition to gaining essential skills during the six sessions, and receiving a Certificate of Completion, people who complete the modules will receive regular updates from the VHA, access to additional programs and resources, and an opportunity to network and learn from their fellow classmates as well as the healthcare leaders delivering the program.

“The program design involved two-hour sessions, online, every two weeks, which made it relatively easy to build into a busy schedule,” Kerry adds. “This also provided the flexibility for people to attend the sessions of most interest to them.

“It was particularly valuable to have the opportunity to engage with experienced practitioners as well as the other participants from across the state. The VHA facilitators established a positive environment for questions, group discussion, and reflections. The program was well designed, informative, and addressed contemporary issues for health service board directors.”


Enrolment update

As of mid-February 2022, the February-April intake is booked out. 

You can join the wait list  for individual modules or click here to enrol into the the next full program intake.