Clinical governance and patient safety

WA Health is committed to ensuring that Western Australia’s public health system is designed to deliver safe and high quality health care. The Department of Health Clinical Governance Framework (PDF 492KB) outlines clinical governance roles and responsibilities along with core mechanisms for their implementation.

The Clinical Governance Framework is aligned to the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care’s National Model Clinical Governance Framework which is based on the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards (external site).

What is clinical governance

Clinical governance is defined as “the set of relationships and responsibilities established by a health service organisation between its state or territory department of health, governing body executive, clinicians, patients, consumers and other stakeholders to ensure good clinical outcomes”. (Reference: Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, 2017).

Clinical governance processes must work in harmony with financial, risk and other corporate governance processes in a complex set of integrated systems, processes, leadership behaviours and culture.

Clinical governance venn diagram

Figure 1: Clinical governance as a component of corporate governance functions

Clinical governance components

Clinical governance has five components:

  • partnering with consumers
  • safe environment for the delivery care
  • governance, leadership and culture
  • patient safety and quality improvement systems
  • clinical performance and effectiveness.

The processes in place are only as effective as the people who operate within them. Open communication, transparency, trust, integrity, collective leadership and collective community awareness are required to build collaborative working relationships. Clinical governance is everyone’s business. The roles and responsibilities at all levels within the system are set out in table 1 of the Clinical Governance Framework (PDF 492KB).

Mandatory policy frameworks

The mandatory policy frameworks ensure a consistent approach to matters in the WA health system. The mandatory policy frameworks with the most direct relationship to patient safety are:

A complete description of the relationship of the mandatory policy frameworks to clinical governance is outlined in the Clinical Governance Framework.

More information

Patient Safety and Surveillance Unit

Last reviewed: 08-04-2022
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Patient Safety Surveillance Unit