Western Sydney Local Health District
The shape of Health care in Australia is radically changing due to technology advancements, changes in demographic makeup and shifts in the expectation of customers. Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) Sydney is leading the way in Australia, recognising the need for change and overhauling their approach to clinical care.
The opportunity for a new way of working
Western Sydney local health District (WSLHD) is undergoing unprecedented change and growth with the redevelopment and expansion of two of the District’s larger hospital facilities at Blacktown and Westmead to serve a growing population in the western suburbs. These redevelopments provide a significant opportunity for clinicians and administrative staff to question current ways of working and develop clinical and non-clinical work environments with a focus on serving the changing clinical models and improving patient care.
Throughout 2016 and 2017, WSLHD, in collaboration with Veldhoen + Company, undertook a thorough and comprehensive process to explore the future workplace concept with clinicians and staff, providing an opportunity to (re)consider the structural, cultural and systemic dimensions of their practices, across the full range of environments in Blacktown and Westmead hospitals.
Through workshops and interviews with leaders, a set of key aspirations emerged for what the new workplace and workstyle should enable:
- collaboration within and across service teams,
- flexible and future focused workplaces, and
- an environment and work style that supports sharing of knowledge and ideas.
The Pilot Projects
During the process, it was decided that a couple of Activity Based Working pilot projects would provide an opportunity to test and refine the functional use of the environments and the transformations to an ABW workstyle to make sure they would deliver on these aspirations.
After a concept development program, an inclusive design process and successful change management, the B2Hub pilot opened in May 2017 and O3Hub pilot opened in August 2017. Both are administration units supporting clinical staff.
The results and key benefits
An initial post occupancy survey completed for B2Hub six months after their move, showed that 97% of staff would not want to return to a “traditional” office environment. The survey and initial evaluation process also identified a number of key benefits including:
- Perception of improved communication within and between teams
- Staff feeling more connected to team members and others i.e. ‘no more working in siloes’
- Innovation supported through workplace design and technology, and
- The new workplace environment was described as ‘satisfying’, ‘providing choice’ and ‘pleasant’ with the potential to improve staff wellbeing
O3Hub will complete a post occupancy survey shortly, and it is expected to produce a similar result based on feedback received from staff so far.
A key part of Veldhoen + Company’s involvement is through the ABW Capability Building program. Where a group of dedicated WSLHD staff members are tasked with learning our philosophy and methodologies so that they can facilitate others on the same journey of transformation to activity based working. Excitingly, since the completion of the pilot projects, a number of other WSLHD health departments have already been inspired to make the change. These include Westmead service teams such as the library [construction commences January 2018] and WSLHD Integrated Care and Community Health Centres [Merrylands Community Health Centre].
Some inspiring shots from WSLHD development, courtesy of Lily Dolenec, Project Communications Manager.
Further reading that may interest you:
- Activity Based Working at a hospital. Really? (Blog: Transforming hospital care in The Netherlands)
- Activity Based Working (article by Blacktown and Mount Druitt Hospitals)
- Westmead Redevelopment and why it chose to go Activity Based Working