Australian Government: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare METeOR Home Page

Person (name)—given name, text X[X(39)]

Identifying and definitional attributes

Metadata item type:Help on this termData Element
Short name:Help on this termGiven name(s)
METeOR identifier:Help on this term287035
Registration status:Help on this termHousing assistance, Standard 20/06/2005 [Non DictionaryHelp on this term]
Health, Superseded 05/10/2016
Tasmanian Health, Endorsed 01/09/2016
Community Services (retired), Superseded 06/02/2012
Definition:Help on this termThe person's identifying name within the family group or by which the person is socially identified, as represented by text.
Data Element Concept:Person (name)—given name

Value domain attributes

Representational attributes

Representation class:Help on this termText
Data type:Help on this termString
Format:Help on this termX[X(39)]
Maximum character length:Help on this term40

Data element attributes

Collection and usage attributes

Guide for use:Help on this term

A person may have more than one Given name. All given names should be recorded.

The agency or establishment should record the person's full given name(s) on their information systems.

National Community Services Data Dictionary specific:

In instances where there is uncertainty about which name to record for a person living in a remote Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander community, Centrelink follows the practice of recording the Indigenous person's name as it is first provided to Centrelink. In situations where proof of identity is required, the name is that recorded on a majority of the higher point scoring documents that are produced as proof of identity.

National Health Data Dictionary specific:

Each individual Given name should have a Given name sequence number associated with it.

Health care establishments may record given names (first and other given names) in one field or several fields. This metadata item definition applies regardless of the format of data recording.

A full history of names is to be retained.

Collection methods:Help on this term

This metadata item should be recorded for all clients.

Given name(s) should be recorded in the format preferred by the person. The format should be the same as that indicated by the person (for example written on a form) or in the same format as that printed on an identification card, such as Medicare card, to ensure consistent collection of name data.

It is acknowledged that some people use more than one given name (for example formal name, birth name, nickname or shortened name, or tribal name) depending on the circumstances. A person is able to change his or her name by usage in all States and Territories of Australia with the exception of Western Australia, where a person may only change his or her name under the Change of Name Act.

A person should generally be registered using their preferred name as it is more likely to be used in common usage and on subsequent visits to the agency or establishment. The person's preferred name may in fact be their legal (or Medicare card) name. The Person name type metadata item (see Comments) can be used to distinguish between the different types of names that may be used by the person.

The following format may assist with data collection:

What is the given name you would like to be known by?


Are you known by any other given names that you would like recorded?

If so, what are they


Please indicate the 'type' of given name that is to be recorded:

(a) Medicare card name (if different to preferred name).

(b) Alias (any other name that you are known by).

Whenever a person informs the agency or establishment of a change of given name (for example prefers to be known by their middle name), the former name should be recorded according to the appropriate name type. Do not delete or overwrite a previous given name. For example 'Mary Georgina Smith' informs the hospital that she prefers to be known as 'Georgina'. Record 'Georgina' as her preferred given name and record 'Mary' as the Medicare card given name.

Similarly the establishment is informed that 'Baby of Louise Jones' has been named 'Mary Jones'. Retain 'Baby of Louise' as the newborn name and also record 'Mary' as the preferred 'Given name'.

Registering an unidentified health care client:

If the person is a health care client and her/his given name is not known record unknown in the 'Given name' field and use alias Name type. When the person's name becomes known, add the actual name as preferred Name type (or other as appropriate). Do not delete or overwrite the alias name of unknown.

Use of first initial:

If the person's given name is not known, but the first letter (initial) of the given name is known, record the first letter in the preferred 'Given name' field. Do not record a full stop following the initial.

Persons with only one name:

Some people do not have a family name and a given name: they have only one name by which they are known. If the person has only one name, record it in the 'Family name' field and leave the 'Given name' blank.

Record complete information:

All of the person's given names should be recorded. 

Shortened or alternate first given name:

If the person uses a shortened version or an alternate version of their first given name, record their preferred name, the actual name as their Medicare card name and any alternative versions as alias names as appropriate.

Example - The person's given name is Jennifer but she prefers to be called Jenny. Record 'Jenny' as the preferred 'Given name' and 'Jennifer' as her Medicare card name.

Example - The person's given name is 'Giovanni' but he prefers to be called 'John'.

Record 'John' as the preferred 'Given name' and 'Giovanni' as the Medicare card name.


If special characters form part of the given names they shall be included, e.g. hyphenated names shall be entered with the hyphen.

  • Hyphen, for example Anne-Maree, Mary-Jane

Do not leave a space before or after the hyphen, that is between last letter of 'Anne' and the hyphen, nor a space between the hyphen and the first letter of 'Maree'.

  • spaces, for example Jean Claude Marcel Moreaux

If the person has recorded their given name as more than one word, displaying spaces in between the words, record their given names in data collection systems in the same way (that is Jean Claude is one given name and Marcel is another given name). 

Names not for continued use:

For cultural reasons, a person such as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander may advise that they are no longer using the given name they previously used and are now using an alternative current name. Record their current name as their preferred given name and record their previously used name as an alias name (with a Name conditional use flag of ‘not for continued use’).

Composite name:

If a person identifies their first name as being a composite word, both parts should be recorded under the first Given Name (rather than the first and second Given Name).
If ‘Anne Marie Walker’ notes her preferred Given Name to be ‘Anne Marie’, then ‘Anne Marie’ is recoded as (first) Given Name, and (second) Given Name is left blank.

Registering an unnamed newborn baby:

An unnamed (newborn) baby is to be registered using the mother's given name in conjunction with the prefix 'Baby of'. For example, if the baby's mother's given name is Fiona, then record 'Baby of Fiona' in the preferred 'Given name' field for the baby. This name is recorded under the newborn Name type. If a name is subsequently given, record the new name as the preferred given name and retain the newborn name.

Registering unnamed multiple births:

An unnamed (newborn) baby from a multiple birth should use their mother's given name plus a reference to the multiple births. For example, if the baby's mother's given name is 'Fiona' and a set of twins is to be registered, then record 'Twin 1 of Fiona' in the Given name field for the first born baby, and 'Twin 2 of Fiona' in the 'Given name' field of the second born baby. Arabic numbers (1, 2, 3 ...) are used, not Roman Numerals (I, II, III ......).

In the case of triplets or other multiple births the same logic applies. The following terms should be use for recording multiple births:

  • Twin:

use Twin, that is Twin 1 of Fiona

  • Triplet:

use Trip, that is Trip 1 of Fiona

  • Quadruplet:

use Quad, that is Quad 1 of Fiona

  • Quintuplet:

use Quin, that is Quin 1 of Fiona

  • Sextuplet:

use Sext, that is Sext 1 of Fiona

  • Septuplet:

use Sept, that is Sept 1 of Fiona.

These names should be recorded under the newborn Person name type. When the babies are named, the actual names should be recorded as the preferred name. The newborn name is retained.

Ethnic Names:

The Centrelink Naming Systems for Ethnic Groups publication provides the correct coding for ethnic names. Refer to Ethnic Names Condensed Guide for summary information.

Misspelled given names:

If the person's given name has been misspelled in error, update the Given name field with the correct spelling and record the misspelled given name as an Alias name. Recording misspelled names is important for filing documents that may be issued with previous versions of the client's name. Discretion should be used regarding the degree of recording that is maintained.

Comments:Help on this term

Often people use a variety of names, including legal names, married/maiden names, nicknames, assumed names, traditional names, etc. Even small differences in recording - such as the difference between Thomas and Tom - can make Record linkage impossible. To minimise discrepancies in the recording and reporting of name information, agencies or establishments should ask the person for their full (formal) Given name and Family name. These may be different from the name that the person may prefer the agency or establishment workers to use in personal dealings. Agencies or establishments may choose to separately record the preferred name that the person wishes to be used by agency or establishment workers. In some cultures it is traditional to state the family name first. To overcome discrepancies in recording/reporting that may arise as a result of this practice, agencies or establishments should always ask the person to specify their first given name and their family or surname separately. These should then be recorded as Given name and Family name as appropriate, regardless of the order in which they may be traditionally given.

National Community Services Data Dictionary specific:

Selected letters of the given name in combination with selected letters of the family name, date of birth and sex may be used for record linkage for statistical purposes only.

National Health Data Dictionary specific:

Health care provider identification DSS and Health care client identification DSS
For the purpose of positive identification or contact, agencies or establishments that collect Given name should also collect Given name sequence number. Given name sequence number is also a metadata item in Australian Standard AS4846-2004 Health care provider identification and is proposed for inclusion in the review of Australian Standard AS5017-2002 Health care client identification. AS5017 and AS4846 use alternative alphabetic codes for Given name sequence number. Refer to the current standards for more details.

Source and reference attributes

Submitting organisation:Help on this term

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Standards Australia

Origin:Help on this term

National Health Data Committee

National Community Services Data Committee

Commonwealth Department of Health and Family Services 1998. Home and Community Care Data Dictionary Version 1.0. Canberra: DHFS

Standards Australia 2002. Australian Standard AS5017-2002 Health Care Client Identification. Sydney: Standards Australia

Reference documents:Help on this term

AS4846 Health Care Provider Identification, 2004, Sydney: Standards Australia

Relational attributes

Related metadata references:Help on this term

See also Person (name)—family name, text X[X(39)] Housing assistance, Standard 20/06/2005, Health, Superseded 05/10/2016, Tasmanian Health, Endorsed 01/09/2016, Community Services (retired), Superseded 06/02/2012

Has been superseded by Person (name)—given name, text X[X(39)] WA Health, Draft 23/08/2012, Indigenous, Endorsed 05/09/2014, Disability, Standard 13/08/2015, Community Services (retired), Standard 06/02/2012

Supersedes Person (name)—given name, text X[X(39)] Health, Superseded 04/05/2005, Community Services (retired), Superseded 25/08/2005

Has been superseded by Person—given name, text X[X(39)] Health, Standard 05/10/2016, Tasmanian Health, Endorsed 27/06/2017, Indigenous, Final 30/05/2018, ACT Health, Final 02/01/2019

Is used in the formation of Person—letters of given and family name, text XXXXX Health, Standard 28/04/2016

Is used in the formation of Person—letters of given and family name, text XXXXX Health, Superseded 28/04/2016, Community Services (retired), Standard 14/09/2009

Is used in the formation of Person—letters of given name, text XX Housing assistance, Standard 23/08/2010, Health, Standard 07/12/2011, Early Childhood, Standard 21/05/2010, Homelessness, Standard 23/08/2010, Disability, Standard 07/10/2014, Children and Families, Standard 22/11/2016, Community Services (retired), Standard 27/03/2007, ACT Health, Final 09/08/2018, Youth Justice, Standardisation pending 10/01/2022

Implementation in Data Set Specifications:Help on this term
All attributes +

Cancer (clinical) DSS Health, Superseded 07/12/2005

Cancer (clinical) DSS Health, Superseded 06/03/2009

Cancer (clinical) DSS Health, Superseded 22/12/2009

Cancer (clinical) DSS Health, Superseded 07/12/2011

Cancer (clinical) DSS Health, Superseded 08/05/2014

Cancer (clinical) DSS Health, Superseded 14/05/2015

Cancer (clinical) NBPDS Health, Standard 14/05/2015

Health care client identification DSS Health, Superseded 03/12/2008

Health care client identification DSS Health, Retired 20/03/2013

Health care provider identification DSS Health, Superseded 04/07/2007

Health care provider identification DSS Health, Superseded 03/12/2008

Health care provider identification DSS Health, Retired 20/03/2013

National Bowel Cancer Screening Program NBEDS 2014-18 Health, Superseded 06/09/2018

DSS specific attributes +

SAAP Administrative National Minimum Data Set (NMDS) Community Services (retired), Retired 01/07/2011

DSS specific attributes +

Surveillance of healthcare associated infection: Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia NBPDS Health, Standard 15/11/2012

Tasmanian Demographics Data Set - 2016 Tasmanian Health, Archived 05/07/2017

DSS specific attributes +
My items Help on this term
Download Help on this term