Code for Patient-Centred Maternity Care (for service users)
Messages for service-users and their partners

The Western Cape Department of Health is committed to patient-centred care which values caring, competence, accountability, integrity, responsive- ness and respect. The Department has developed a Code of Patient-Centred Maternity Care to which health workers and users of maternity care can refer.
Here, the parts of the Code that are relevant to mothers and their partners are explained so that they can know their rights and have realistic expectations.

The Western Cape Department of Health has committed to the Code for Patient-Centred Maternity Care
The code has the following parts:

1. Everyone has the right to effective maternity care
This means:
• The birthing unit is clean and well supplied.
• You will not be refused appropriate care for any reason.
• You may be required to provide information to health staff which they need in order to give you the best care possible.

2. Everyone has the right to be treated with respect and dignity
This means:
• You will receive a friendly reception from all facility staff and be treated with kindness and compassion.
• The Department of Health will respond with zero tolerance to any kind of abuse or violence by health personnel.
• The Department of Health will respond with zero tolerance to any acts of violence committed by patients or their companions in the facility, or towards facility staff.
• You will have privacy.
• You will be asked for your permission to be examined.
• It is also expected that service users treat staff with respect and dignity.
• You will be made as comfortable as possible.

3. Everyone has the right to health care information
This means:
• You will have access to information about pregnancy, labour and related health care.
• All procedures or examinations will be explained to you. You will have the chance to ask questions.

4. Maternity units should be responsive to the communities they serve
This means:
• You are able to lodge a complaint or compliment anonymously.
• You are able to participate in clinic committees, health facility boards or district health forums, through community representatives.

5. Everyone has the right to have a companion during labour
This means:
• You will be allowed to have a family member, partner, friend or doula accompany you during observations in early labour, active labour, and during delivery.
• Try to choose this person while you’re pregnant. Fill in the companion form and keep a copy with your pregnancy book.
• If you do not have a companion, the facility will try to arrange a trained person to be with you.