Patient First program

The WA Department of Health and Country Health Service are committed to providing high quality and safe care to patients. Patient First is one means of achieving this.

What is Patient First?

Patient First is a program that provides consumers information about their rights and responsibilities, and encourages them to speak up about issues and take responsibility, where they can, for parts of their treatment.

The goal of the program is to increase our patients' understanding of their conditions, and allow them to make better health care decisions through informed consent. This information will increase patients' knowledge of the risks involved in their health care, and improve their ability to manage their own health issues. A patient's increased awareness will reduce the risk of adverse events.

As a consumer-focused program, it is expected that Patient First will be driven at the community/consumer end by District Health Advisory Groups and consumer groups, with strong organisational support. This will ensure that our staff are aware of the program, respond appropriately to consumers who speak up, and that processes are in place to prevent issues arising and enable consumer issues to be addressed.

Why have Patient First?

This program reflects our commitment to patient-centred care, where health care is focused on patient needs and engaging the patient in the decision-making process.

Our health safety date show that 10% of cases end up with adverse results, but research has shown that there is evidence to suggest that patients can impact their own care.

Because of the high demands on our health care system to provide modern facilities and services, there is a need for patients to be able to take responsibility for their own health.

By educating health consumers in problems that can occur with their health care, they can be a more active, involved and informed participants. Such education will help reduce medical errors during a patient's care.

More information

Patient First information and resources for patients, families and carers are available on the Going to Hospital (Healthy WA) page.

Booklets are also available in hard copy format at WA Country Health Service hospitals and are typically given to patients as part of their admission pack (though this varies at each hospital).

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