Patient safety

Changing the culture

Belfast, Ireland

13-14 March 2006

The Global Patient Safety Challenge of the World Alliance for Patient Safety was inaugurated in Northern Ireland on Monday 13 March 2006, as part of the Changing the Culture conference. The two-day conference addressed a spectrum of issues in relation to the prevention and control of health care-associated infection.

Shaun Woodward MP, the Northern Ireland Health Minister, reaffirmed his commitment to improve the safety of patients by signing up to the Global Patient Safety Challenge with Sir Liam Donaldson, Chair of the World Alliance for Patient Safety and Chief Medical Officer for England. At the invitation of the WHO, the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, Northern Ireland (DHSSPSNI), formally pledged support to implement actions to reduce the spread of infection in health care settings and to share results and learning internationally.

The theme of the Global Patient Safety Challenge for the period 2005-2006 is "Clean Care is Safer Care" with a particular emphasis on hand hygiene. Professor Didier Pittet, leader of this WHO initiative participated at the event and delivered a speech on the Challenge.

The conference, jointly hosted by DHSSPSNI, the Northern Ireland Healthcare-associated Infection Surveillance Centre (HISC) and The Royal Hospitals, Belfast, was an important milestone in the Department's action plan for the prevention and control of health care-associated infection. Distinguished international speakers were joined by experts from the UK and Ireland for a programme which aimed to educate, inform and share information on all aspects of infection prevention and control.

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