Correct patient, correct procedure, correct site policy

Why a correct patient, correct procedure, correct site policy?

Procedures performed on the wrong body part, wrong side of the body or wrong patient are preventable.

In November 2006, the Department implemented OD 0004/06 Correct Patient, Correct Procedure, Correct Site Policy and Guidelines for WA Health Services (external site).2

What is correct patient, correct procedure, correct site?

Correct patient, correct procedure, correct site refers to members of a clinical team completing a 5 step verification process before commencing treatment on a patient.

The 5-step process

  1. The health practitioner must obtain a patient’s agreement before commencing treatment. See consent to treatment for more information.
  2. Members of the clinical team may check the patient’s identification a number of times. The patient must state their identity details and the medical team must check the patient’s responses against the patient’s identification band, consent form and other information provided in the patient’s medical record.
  3. The person performing the surgery or invasive procedure should mark the site of the procedure.
  4. Once the patient is in the operating theatre, all clinical team members should independently verify the presence of the correct patient, correct type of procedure, correct site marked and presence of specialised equipment.
  5. Clinicians are responsible to ensure that the correct and appropriate documents and diagnostic images are available, and that documents are properly labelled and properly presented.

Read more on ensuring the correct treatment is given to the correct patient.



The Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Health Care has also developed a series of resources for health professionals on this topic (external site).


  1. Department of Health. WA Sentinel Event Report October 2003 – June 2005 (PDF 587KB). Government of Western Australia
  2. Department of Health. Delivering Safer Health Care in Western Australia – The Second WA Sentinel Event Report 2005-2006 (PDF 755KB). Government of Western Australia

More information

Quality Improvement and Change Management Unit
Address: 189 Royal Street, East Perth
Phone: 9222 4080

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Quality Improvement and Change Management Unit