Department of Health

Capability frameworks for clinical services

Capability frameworks are being developed for major clinical streams in Victoria's health system in response to recommendations arising from Targeting zero, the review of hospital safety and quality assurance in Victoria (Duckett, 2016). This review found that the Department of Health and Human Services had failed to provide adequate oversight of quality and safety of health services and in its role as system manager of Victoria's public health services.

The staged introduction of a role delineation framework for the Victorian health system, underpinned by a suite of capability frameworks, is a key action of the Statewide design, service and infrastructure plan for Victoria's health system 2017-2037.

Each capability framework has had input from public health services, private hospitals, professional associations and unions, peak bodies, Safer Care Victoria, relevant clinical networks and a number of business units internal to the department.

The department is developing and implementing capability frameworks for the following clinical streams:

  • renal services
  • urgent, emergency and trauma services
  • surgical and procedural services
  • cardiac services.

Capability frameworks:

  • describe the clinical services and complexity that can be safely managed by health services against 6 levels
  • describe the workforce skills, infrastructure, equipment, clinical support services and clinical governance needed
  • are a common language for staff, the community and other health services about a local hospital's capability
  • assist the planning and service development at the local, regional and system levels.

Capability frameworks are used in the Victorian maternity and newborn system.

Relevant documents and information for the four clinical streams will be placed on the webpage for each stream as they are developed or released.


Implementation of the clinical frameworks will start with:

  • public hospitals (private services will be later)
  • a template and current activity data being sent to each health service (October 2019) for each campus to be completed in four weeks
  • an information session to assist staff completing the capability framework template.

The key steps in the implementation are:

Implementation approach – key steps

Implementation process

  • DHHS uses data to assign 'best fit' level for each campus.
  • DHHS provides health services template of criteria for their 'best fit' level for initial self assessment.
  • Non-compliant service requirements are identified by health services in template.
  • DHHS requires health services to validate/provide evidence of some criteria (to be determined).
  • A plan for unmet requirements that can be rectified in <6 months is agreed with health services and DHHS.
  • Risk/mitigation strategies for requirements in rectification plan is agreed.
  • Health service progresses rectification plan and notifies DHHS as actions are completed.
  • DHHS monitors due dates and confirms actions are completed.
  • Capability level for that campus is designated by DHHS for 12 months.
  • DHHS uses data to monitor alignment of activity with agreed level.
  • 12 months post - re-assessment at campus level.

Clinical Capability Framework Contacts

Contact details for each clinical stream capability framework can be found on the stream’s webpage.

Core capability frameworks

Five 'core' capability frameworks are also being developed, led by the department. They are:

  • critical and intensive care
  • anaesthetics
  • pharmacy and medicines management
  • pathology
  • medical imaging and nuclear medicine.

Key craft groups are being consulted on the drafts and they will be released for sector for wider consultation in October 2019. Once they finalised they will be publicly released and implemented in stages from January 2020.

For more information on the implementation of the core frameworks, please visit the Capability frameworks for Victorian hospital core services section.


Sonia Denisenko, Principal Policy Officer - Health System Design
Telephone: 03 9096 6107

Reviewed 17 November 2019


Contact details

Capability frameworks

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