Patient safety

Tackling the Global Patient Safety Agenda

17 May 2005

A presentation about the World Alliance for Patient Safety by Sir Liam Donaldson, Chair of the Alliance, took place at the Marcel Jenny Auditorium, University of Geneva Hospitals (Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève), on 17 May 2005. Over 100 health care professionals participated in the 2-hour meeting and heard dramatic stories of patients who had died or suffered serious harm through the delivery of health care. The session was moderated by Professors H. Bounameaux, and D. Pittet from the University of Geneva Hospitals.

The Chair of the Alliance emphasized that a body of evidence from researching patient safety has shown that "adverse events are not rare and can happen almost anywhere" and described with examples how other industries, such as the aviation industry, are successfully addressing errors and catastrophic events. " Research and best practice outside health care has shown that safety comes down to appreciating that improvements are not made by telling people to take care, but by understanding the conditions that provoke error" Sir Liam said.

The presentation was concluded by describing the historic and international background prior to the creation and launch of the Alliance in October 2004, and providing an outline of its six programmes.