World Patient Safety Day 2020 – “Health Worker Safety: A Priority for Patient Safety”

World Patient Safety Day 2020 – “Health Worker Safety: A Priority for Patient Safety”

Posted on September 17, 2020

17 September 2020 marks the World Patient Safety Day, as established by the 72nd World Health Assembly, in May 2019, with the adoption of resolution WHA72.6 on ‘Global action on patient safety’, and an approval for the Day to be marked annually on 17 September. The World Patient Safety Day builds on a series of annual Global Ministerial Summits on Patient Safety, started in London in 2016, and aims to enhance global understanding of patient safety, increase public engagement in the safety of health care and promote global actions to enhance patient safety and reduce patient harm.

Patient safety and quality care are paramount health policy priorities and should continue to remain as such. Every European patient deserves the best possible healthcare. And this year, that has been a quite challenging one with COVID-19, has shown that, more than ever, patient safety and quality of care must remain high on the EU political agenda. Ensuring patient safety and quality of care is at the heart of health services in Europe, and a culture of safety in healthcare systems will ensure high-quality patient care. And nurses, as the largest occupational group in the EU health care sector, providing the majority of direct patient care in a wide range of settings, have a vital role to play in this, not only in protecting the patient and providing high quality health and social care, which results in effective health and social care ecosystems, but also in the EU policy developments and shaping and implementing policies that will increase patient safety.

Nurses are committed to continue to invest and work towards this end, for the benefit of their patients, but safeguarding quality and safety requires appropriate consideration and investment. Therefore, it is crucial that the EU Institutions and the national governments take adequate actions to protect the most vulnerable: to support the frontline health professionals that provide direct patient care, including recognising the added value of the nursing profession to the healthcare sector, to improve nurses’ salaries, working conditions, and ensure safe levels of staffing delivering good quality care and patient safety.

We can also say that patient safety and quality of care are a core part of all education programmes and require concrete support for research and innovation to upscale existing good practices between the EU Member States. Digitalisation, for example, is a crucial aspect of modern societies and health and social care ecosystems, with technology having an important role to contribute to enhancing patient safety and patient empowerment as well as facilitating frontline healthcare professionals’ work, with electronic tools supporting them in their daily work and allowing an easy and fast collection of relevant data, to hopefully free up time for direct patient care.

Action at EU level is essential to led and guide countries to make sure to have patient safety and quality of care for all the European citizens. But there is no safety and quality without engaging the frontline nurses. The EFN also believes that the patient is the actor for Patient Safety and therefore ownership should be given to patients.