On the first-ever World Patient Safety Day today, 17 September, the World Health Organization (WHO) is launching a global campaign urging people to show their commitment to making healthcare safer.
The launch of the campaign comes at a time when the latest data show four out of 10 patients are harmed in the primary and ambulatory settings and that up to 80 per cent of harm in these settings can be avoided. The most detrimental errors are related to diagnosis, prescription and the use of medicines. The WHO says medication errors alone cost an estimated US$42 billion (approximately €38 billion) annually. Unsafe surgical care procedures cause complications in up to 25 per cent of patients, resulting in one million deaths during or immediately after surgery annually.
The WHO is encouraging healthcare professionals to ensure they engage patients as partners in their care and work with the patient to create an open and transparent patient safety culture.
“We need a patient safety culture that promotes partnership with patients, encourages reporting and learning from errors, and creates a blame-free environment where health workers are empowered and trained to reduce errors,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.