Tuesday 17 September is the first ever World Patient Safety Day. It’s being organised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to raise awareness of patient safety and to urge people to show their commitment to making healthcare safer.
To those of us who think about the safety and care of our patients every day, it might seem unusual to have a day specifically focused on World Patient Safety. But patient safety is now recognised as a large and growing global public health challenge where, according to WHO, patient harm due to adverse events is likely to be in the top 10 causes of death and disability in the world.
Patient safety is at the forefront of what we do. Through education, improved hygiene and awareness-raising, we are reducing the number of hospital-acquired infections, catheter urinary tract infections and falls by older and frail patients.
In addition, we are actively involved in raising awareness of the signs of sepsis, promoting PHE’s campaign and making sure staff are better informed and that patients showing symptoms are treated quickly.
The NHS is committed to patient safety and this summer launched the NHS patient safety strategy which underlines the need for continuous safety improvement underpinned by a safety culture and effective safety systems.
There is a safety syllabus and training as well as the requirement for all NHS organisations to identify a specialist to lead on patient safety, a new national incident management system and a safety improvement programme with the involvement of patients.
These are just some of the patient safety initiatives we are involved in. Let’s celebrate patient safety and make it much more than a one day a year initiative.