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World Patient Safety Day: Speak up for patient safety!

by Public Health Update

World Patient Safety Day: Speak up for patient safety!

World Patient Safety Day was established by the 72nd World Health Assembly in May 2019. The first-ever World Patient Safety Day will observe globally on 17 September 2019. This global campaign will create awareness of patient safety and urge people to show their commitment to making healthcare safer.

WHO is prioritizing patient safety as a global health priority and urging patients, healthcare workers, policy makers and health care industry to “Speak up for patient safety!”

10 Facts about Patient Safety

  1. Patient safety is a serious global public health concern. It is estimated that there is a 1 in 3 million risk of dying while travelling by airplane. In comparison, the risk of patient death occurring due to a preventable medical accident, while receiving health care, is estimated to be 1 in 300. Industries with a perceived higher risk, such as the aviation and nuclear industries, have a much better safety record than health care does.
  2. One in every 10 patients is harmed while receiving hospital care
  3. Four out of every 10 patients are harmed in primary and outpatient health care
  4. At least 1 out of every 7 Canadian dollars is spent treating the effects of patient harm in hospital care
  5. Investment in patient safety can lead to significant financial savings
  6. Unsafe medication practices and medication errors harm millions of patients and costs billions of US dollars every year
  7. Inaccurate or delayed diagnosis is one of the most common causes of patient harm and affects millions of patients
  8. Hospital infections affect up to 10 out of every 100 hospitalized patients
  9. More than 1 million patients die annually from complications due to surgery
  10. Medical exposure to radiation is a public health and patient safety concern

Key Messages: How can you enhance patient safety?

If you are a patient or caregiver

  • Be actively involved in your own care
  • It is good to ask questions; safe health care starts with good communication
  • Be sure to provide accurate information about your health history

If you are a health worker or health care leader

  • Engage patients as partners in their care
  • Work together for patient safety
  • Ensure continuous professional development to improve your skills and knowledge in patient safety
  • Create an open and transparent safety culture in health care settings
  • Encourage blame-free reporting of and learning from errors

If you are a policy maker

  • Investing in patient safety results in financial savings
  • Invest in patient safety to save lives and build trust
  • Make patient safety a national health priority

If you are a researcher, student, academic, or professional institution

  • Generate evidence to improve patient safety, your research matters
  • Encourage research in patient safety
  • Incorporate patient safety in educational curricula and courses

If you are from a professional association, international organization or foundation

  • Promote patient safety for achieving universal health coverage
  • Provide learning and development opportunities for patient safety

If you are a public health advocate or from a patient organization

  • Promote patients’ voices in their own safe care
  • Advocate for safety in health care as a requirement


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World Patient Safety Day: Speak up for patient safety!

WHO calls for urgent action to reduce patient harm in healthcare

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