Patient Safety Week: 5–11 November 2017PSW 2017 people

Patient Safety Week (PSW) will be held from 5–11 November 2017, with a focus on medication safety. This is in line with the World Health Organization’s five-year medication safety challenge.

We know that harm is occurring because people are taking the wrong medicines, so we’ll be producing resources to encourage conversations between consumers and health professionals. 

Working together

We are again working with ACC to deliver PSW, and also have support from PHARMAC. We are fortunate to be well supported by a skilled ideas group that includes representatives from most areas of the sector.

PSW2017 A3Poster ENGLISHResources

We have taken a fresh approach to resources this year and are using a suite of illustrated characters to communicate our messages.

Resources can be viewed and ordered here until 20 September 2017.


After much consultation with medication safety experts, PSW's medication safety theme is about improving communication about medication between health professionals and consumers. The main questions we’ll be communicating throughout PSW are likely to be:

  • Lets Talk Medicines logoWhat is my medicine called?
  • What is it for?
  • When and how should I take it?

We view these questions as a starting point, that will lead to a bigger conversation to cover things like side effects, the impact of stopping medicines, taking several medicines and so on.


PSW 17The audience for PSW are people with chronic conditions who are long-term users of multiple medicines, with an emphasis on Māori and people with English as a second language. We’ll also be talking to family and whānau (support networks) of these consumers.

The other audience for PSW is our delivery audience, health professionals who prescribe, dispense or administer medicines.

For health professionals

Health professionals are encouraged to consider:

  • the importance of giving consumers time – their questions are valid
  • what is common for you may be unusual, confusing and challenging for consumers 
  • knowledge is power – the more a consumer knows, the less likely they are to make a mistake with their medicines 
  • cost could be a barrier to consumers filling prescriptions and continuing to take medication – talk to them about this 
  • practising the three steps to better health literacy: find out what people know, build health literacy skills and knowledge, and check you were clear.

More information

We would love your support!

Medication safety and good communication is relevant across health care and we would love to see Patient Safety Week promoted widely. If you have any questions or would like to promote the week, please contact or phone 0274 734 222. 

More information on Patient Safety Week, will be announced in the coming months, so keep checking the news items on the bottom of this page.

To read more about previous Patient Safety Weeks, visit the archived Open website external link.

Featured news or publications

PSW 17
Patient Safety Week update (July 2017)

6 Jul 2017, Patient Safety Week

An update on the medication safety theme, our supporters, our audience, and competition details to win a staff morning tea.

Programme related news