‘At the Patient Safety Global Action Summit last month, the global health community, led by the Dr Margaret Chan – the Director General of the World Health Organization, Jeremy Hunt MP – the UK Secretary of State for Health, Professor the Lord Ara Darzi – Director of the NIHR Imperial Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (PSTRC) and seven health ministers and ministerial delegates from 12 other health systems gathered in London to kick-off a global movement for patient safety, which aimed to jump-start coordinated global action to reduce avoidable harm caused to patients by the health services….’

Many of the above themes were captured in the report Patient Safety 2030

Below are extracts from the executive summary:


“First do no harm.” This principle remains central to the provision of high-quality healthcare. The mission to make care safer unites professionals and patients alike, and safety is a key component of any quality initiative. Yet there are still too many avoidable errors…

The increased complexity of care creates new risks of error and harm to patients…

In recent years, healthcare budgets have tightened across OECD countries, a necessity to ensure sustainability while facing reduced economic growth. However, this limits expenditure on resources that are crucial for patient safety, such as staffing levels and investment in appropriate facilities and equipment.

Appropriate deployment of governance and regulation, improved use of data and information, stronger leadership, and enhanced education and training all promote safer care. Moreover, emerging approaches – including behavioural insights and digital health – will add new options to the patient safety toolkit…

1. A systems approach. The approach to reduce harm must be integrated and implemented at the system level.

2. Culture counts. Health systems and organisations must truly prioritise quality and safety through an inspiring vision and positive reinforcement, not through blame and punishment.

3. Patients as true partners. Healthcare organisations must involve patients and staff in safety as part of the solution, not simply as victims or culprits.

4. Bias towards action. Interventions should be based on robust evidence. However, when evidence is lacking or still emerging, providers should proceed with cautious, reasoned decision-making rather than inaction.

For safety to triumph, we must make a global commitment to improve the safety of the care we provide. Patient safety is a shared goal of health systems all over the world. However, there is significant untapped potential in this global movement. To capture this potential, three ingredients are necessary:

1. Global: the movement should be truly global and include low- and middle-income countries that have so far been at its margins.

2. Focused: while safety is a common goal across countries, some issues are more dependent on the local context and require tailored solutions. International collaboration should focus on identifying high-level trends and raising awareness of common issues, including measurement of a core set of high-level indicators.

3. Coordinated: to maximise their impact and avoid duplication of efforts, the patient safety movement should be coordinated across all stakeholders…

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