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World Patient Safety Day

In May 2019, all 194 member states of the World Health Organisation (WHO) recognised the importance of patient safety as a global health priority. They did this through the adoption of the World Patient Safety Day Resolution (Resolution WHA 72.6) at the 72nd World Health Assembly and marked 17 September each year as the day in which patient safety should be recognised.

The objectives of the WHO’s World Patient Safety Day are to increase public awareness and engagement, enhance global understanding, and spur global solidarity and action to promote patient safety.

Resolution WHA 72.6 recognises the need “to integrate and implement patient safety campaigns in all clinical programmes and risk areas, to prevent avoidable harm to patients related to health care procedures, products and devices, for example, surgical safety

WFSA along with the Association of Anaesthetists welcomed the announcement of this day as a means by which focus can be provided on improving safety standards. This will enable us to highlight and further promote safe and high quality anaesthesia globally.

The need to mark this day is apparent when one considers WHO’s own estimates which reveal:

In 2020 WFSA co-convened a special meeting on health worker safety
  • 134 million adverse events occur each year due to unsafe care in hospitals in low and middle income countries, contributing to 2.6 million deaths annually
  • 5 out of 7 billion people do not have access to safe and affordable anaesthesia and surgical care according to the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery. This neglect highlights the importance to work for improved patient care and access to safe anaesthesia.
  • The provision of essential and safe surgery and anaesthesia would avert 1.5 million deaths each year. (Source: Debas et al [eds.] (2015) Essential Surgery. Disease Control Priorities, third edition, volume 1.)

In 2020, World Patient Safety Day focused on the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges and risks that healthcare workers face. The theme of the day was determined as: Health Worker Safety: A Priority for Patient Safety.