Department of Health

Service capability frameworks for Victoria

Service capability frameworks are being introduced for clinical streams across Victoria's health system.

Service capability frameworks are comprehensive guidelines developed for Victoria's health system to support the delivery of optimal care.

The frameworks apply to health service campuses within Victoria’s health system, encompassing a wide range of healthcare providers and facilities.

The frameworks outline the essential elements required for clinical services to function safely and effectively and categorise these services into different levels of capability.

Service capability frameworks:

  • describe the clinical services that can be safely delivered by a health service campus, typically against six levels of capability
  • provide a common language for staff, health services, and the community about what can be safely delivered at a given campus
  • assist the department and health services with planning and service development at local, regional and state-wide levels.

Service capability frameworks are already in place in most states of Australia.

The capability frameworks for Maternity and Newborn services are well established and embedded across Victoria’s health system. Additional capability frameworks are being released for major clinical streams in Victoria's health system in response to recommendations from Targeting zero, the review of hospital safety and quality assurance in Victoria (2016).

Role of service capability frameworks

The role of capability frameworks is to:

  • support health services to collaborate to deliver the right care, at the right time to meet the needs of their communities
  • support the Department of Health and Safer Care Victoria to ensure that safe care, of the highest quality, is delivered to all Victorians
  • describe the supports needed for health services to deliver safe care to the community, as close to home as possible.

Purpose of capability frameworks

Capability frameworks outline the minimum requirements for safe and high-quality care in Victoria and support health services to deliver the right care, at the right time, at the right place to all Victorian communities.

Capability frameworks support the following functions:

  • Monitoring of service capability levels and defining the relationships between services.
  • Effective health system planning and support future role delineation which will improve quality, safety, and efficiency of services.
  • Communicate policy expectations about clinical safety and management of risk.

Capability frameworks should be viewed in conjunction with other key documents, particularly the Victorian Health Services Performance Monitoring Framework, the Department of Health Policy and Funding Guidelines and the Safer Care Victoria clinical governance frameworkExternal Link .

Frameworks that are already in place in Victoria and/or are currently being reviewed include:

A Cancer capability framework is also in development.

Determining and monitoring capability levels

Every 2 years, for each capability framework, health services will be required to complete an online self-assessment questionnaire. For larger health services, the questionnaire will need to be completed for each campus. The information collected will be compared with existing data relevant to the clinical stream of the framework.

The Department of Health will then collaborate with each health service to confirm the service capability level (at each hospital campus where relevant). Once capability levels are agreed, they will be published on the department’s website.

As the system steward, the department is responsible for regular performance monitoring of public health services. This process occurs via quarterly meetings of the Department of Health and Safer Care Victoria with every health service.

Once per year these meetings will include an annual capability discussion of each relevant clinical stream delivered by the health service. This is an opportunity to have a focused discussion on any changes in service delivery (actual or proposed), a review of existing activity and its alignment with the agreed capability level and any issues that the health service would like to raise with the department regarding the clinical stream. This will be a useful ouchpoint to ensure each clinical stream is discussed on an annual basis.


Reviewed 12 December 2023


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Capability frameworks

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