Formulating the Global Patient Safety Action Plan 2020-2030

Global consultation “A Decade of Patient Safety 2020-2030: Formulating the Global Patient Safety Action Plan”.

From 24-26 February 2020, 73 global experts from 45 countries met at WHO Geneva to define the activities that WHO will pursue in its action plan for patient safety in the decade 2020-2030.

Dr Rosario Perez (right) and Dr María Pilar Astier (left), members of WONCA Working Party on Quality and Safety, participated in the working groups. The meeting was conducted by Dr Neelam Dhingra Kumar, Sir Liam Donaldson and Dr Edward Kelly from WHO Headquarters. A tiredless team of WHO technical advisors worked as group leaders to collect and summarise all proposals. So, a big thank you to all the work did by this strong WHO team!

The international experts worked on the Global Action on Patient Safety approved at 72th World Health Assembly in May 2019. They described the current situation on patient safety in their countries and international organizations. Group discussions lead to many proposals on 12 relevant topics:

1. Safety in patient care, clinical processes and use of medical products and devices.

2. Patient safety policy and priorities

3. Leadership and patient safety culture

4. Sufficient competent and compassionate health workforce: patient safety education and training following WHO Multiprofessional Curriculum Guidance on Patient Safety.

5. Human factors capability and capacity, and health workforce and workplace safety

6. Measurement, reporting, learning and surveillance of risks and patient safety incidents.

7. Patient safety research and innovation

8. Global patient safety challenges for all

9. Patient engagement and empowerment: storytellings, shared decision making, patient advocacy…

10. Patient safety in an era of Universal Health Coverage (UHC): Safety and quality across the continuum of care

11. Developing networks and partnerships to create a strong patient safety culture

12. Water, sanitation and hygiene, infection prevention and control, injection safety and anti-microbial resistance

Drs Perez and Astier highlighted the important role of family doctors to guarantee a quality and safer healthcare in primary care and therefore, safer and quality universal health coverage (#UHC) for all world’s citizens. The way family doctors work responds to many of the characteristics of quality and safe care. We listen, care, inform and educate about patient safety and accompany our patients throughout their journey through the health system by coordinating their care, the medication they take and making shared decisions with them assessing risks and benefits to the patient in their context. In this way, we work every day to provide safe, quality care that is focused on the patient, their environment and their life goals. So we are really committed with the Action Plan to be implemented.

We invite all family physicians to talk and reflect with their colleagues and patients on topics of improving patient safety in the health care we provide every day. The best plan of action will not work if we, as family physicians, are not committed to patient safety and create safe partnerships with our patients. Patients who reflect the social reality, who can work in many sectors such as politics, the press, education, business, maintenance... and that our conversation and reflection with them will contribute to creating safer and higher quality care for everyone in every corner of the planet.

On the last day of this meeting, 26th February, the Action Plan was launched with the support of WHO Director, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The Action Plan is going to be sent to Governments and Organizations to be assess and the final version will be approved by May 2021 in the World Health Assembly.

The quality and patient safety group is at your disposal to provide any information or documentation of interest. The WHO page on patient safety is a safe place to keep informed.