Patient safety

Call for a global movement on patient safety

Patient Safety Global Action Summit 9-10 March 2016, London, UK

Commitment from the leadership level is crucial to make patient safety a top health priority for strengthening health systems. The Patient Safety Global Action Summit 2016, held in London on 9-10 March, aspired to galvanize international policy and governmental actors to prioritize patient safety at all levels. The aim was to review past experience, inspire new strategies and coordinate action on patient safety globally.

The meeting brought together senior renowned researchers, ministers of health, policy-makers and clinical managers, along with other international stakeholders. Hosted by the UK’s Secretary of State for Health, and Germany’s Federal Minister of Health, the meeting followed the informal 15th anniversary of the patient safety movement and publication of "To Err is Human”.

During the Expert Summit held on the first day, key patient safety challenges were highlighted, such as the need for further research and measurements for patient safety and the importance of policy and financial system alignment to achieve improvements in quality and safety.

The Expert Summit continued with four panels:

  • Panel 1 - Taking a holistic, system-based approach to patient safety,
  • Panel 2 - The emerging complexities in patient safety,
  • Panel 3 - The patient safety toolbox 2030 - novel and innovative tools, including behavioural insights and digital health,
  • Panel 4 - The importance and potential of learning from other industries and countries to improve patient safety.

Two reports were also launched on Day 1: "Patient Safety 2030", produced by the National Institute for Health Research at Imperial College, London, as well as the National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS) Research and Development report, both of these highlighting how safety must be a top health care priority globally.

On the second day, the Ministerial Summit, the WHO Director-General, a number of ministers of health, state representatives and senior MOH officials expressed support for the global patient safety movement and international collaboration at all levels. The WHO DG summarized five concrete action points, the “5 Ps”:

  • Political commitment and leadership,
  • Policies that encourage and enable patient safety improvement,
  • Paradigm shift: providing a safe space for people to report,
  • Performance measurement: benchmarking, developing indicators and data systems,
  • Patient safety movement: a call for urgent action by governments.

Stories were shared about patient safety incidents, moving the hearts and minds of health care professionals and policy-makers alike. The need for political commitment was echoed by participants to propel the momentum for a global patient safety movement. The meeting generated enthusiasm from politicians and other key stakeholders in efforts to establish a safety and learning culture worldwide.

This summit will be followed by a second summit in Germany in 2017.

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