Patient safety

International Alliance of Patients' Organizations' 3rd Global Patients Congress

20-22 February 2008

The 3rd Global Patients Congress, held in Budapest, Hungary from 20-22 February 2008, brought together over 180 delegates from around the world, representing patients and other stakeholders in health such as the European Commission, the World Health Organization and global health professionals' associations, with the aim of learning from each other's experiences in developing patient-centred healthcare.

Key note addresses demonstrated the central role that patients are increasingly playing in healthcare today. Sir Liam Donaldson, Chief Medical Officer, England and Chair of the WHO World Alliance for Patients Safety, Ms Katalin Rapi, Secretary of State for Health Policy at the Ministry of Health, Hungary, Mr Ton Hoek of the International Pharmaceutical Federation and Mr. Andrzej Ryś, Director, Public Health & Risk Assessment at the European Commission, DG SANCO, all highlighted the importance of developing collaboration between patients and professionals.

The Congress' key theme of patient-centred healthcare was complemented by a focus on Access to Healthcare, Patient Safety, Patient Information and Patient Involvement. Through workshops and plenary sessions, speakers demonstrated the progress that has been made in these areas since the previous Congress in 2006. More and more patients are working with healthcare providers to make patient-centred healthcare a reality, and patient and consumer groups increasingly achieve recognition for the contribution they made to the design and delivery of healthcare.

In the closing keynote address, Ms Katalin Rapi, Secretary of State for Health Policy at the Ministry of Health in Hungary, described the Hungarian government’s efforts to provide meaningful support to civil society and patients’ organizations as a key part of its aim to modernize healthcare delivery in the country.

Patients for Patient Safety workshop

As part of the Congress, the Alliance's Patients for Paitent Safety (PFPS) programme ran a workshop focusing on opportunities for patient engagement and partnership in patient safety. Workshop participants heard about the patient-led PFPS programme from the Alliance Secretariat and a number of PFPS Champions. An interactive session saw participants reflecting on their own experience of engagement in healthcare, what worked well and what barriers needed to be overcome. The outcomes of the workshop will help scope the PFPS patient engagement project.

Sir Liam Donaldson with members of the IAPO Board.