The Health Professions and Patient Safety
A lunch-time event focusing on Patient Safety took place in Geneva on 16 May 2005. The event was organised by the International Council of Nurses (ICN) to coincide with the 58th World Health Assembly. ICN staff welcomed around 150 representatives from country delegations, WHO and other agencies, NGOs and the corporate sector. The main presentations focused on the safety of care, and participants heard about WHO's World Alliance for Patient Safety and the Global Patient Safety Challenge: Clean Care is Safer Care, which is a core element of the Alliance.
WHO Assistant Director-General Dr Timothy Evans opened the presentations on the World Alliance by thanking the organizers for once again allowing a focus on patient safety issues as in the 2004 event.
The Chair of the Alliance and Chief Medical Officer of the UK, Sir Liam Donaldson, outlined the background and launch of the World Alliance for Patient Safety and described its six programmes, introducing the Global Patient Safety Challenge as a core programme for 20005-2006. This programme focuses on addressing health care-associated infection, with the theme "Clean Care is Safer Care".
Leading the Global Patient Safety Challenge, Professor Pittet, Director of Infection Control Programme, University of Geneva Hospitals (Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève) presented the main objectives and components of the Global Challenge and emphasized the importance of improving hand hygiene when it comes to addressing health care-associated infection. Professor Pittet introduced the work of the Alliance in developing the WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care.
The ICN Health Professions event was well situated prior to the World Health Assembly (WHA) Alliance informal briefing of the 19 May 2005, to broaden interest on patient safety issues among WHA participants and others.