IHF and ISQua Joint Statement for World Patient Safety Day 2020

Today, on the second World Patient Safety Day, the International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua) and the International Hospital Federation (IHF) join in this worldwide celebration, and support that Safe Health Workers are essential for Safe Patients. ISQua and IHF are committed to improving people safety and healthcare quality worldwide. We will thoroughly engage with the WHO Flagship Initiative: A Decade of Patient Safety 2020-2030, and will support key elements of the work to be undertaken during this decade, so that health and healthcare can be safe in the future.

We make our statement based on three key messages, ackownledging the fact that the safety culture has been continuously challenged during the past months.

People (patient & health worker) safety is inherent in healthcare and is based on coproduction. It is a holistic culture that should be promoted throughout the continuum of care, from organizational processes to individual practices, and by all stakeholders (including the patients). As part of this, measurement, research, and identification of best practices should not be neglected. Key safety principles must be based on shared values such as transparency and willingness to overcome disciplinary barriers, and lead to a normalisation of patient & health worker safety.

Health worker physical and mental health are paramount. The Covid-19 crisis allowed to highlight the importance of health workers safety, beyond hospital walls. This calls for a reinforcement of occupational safety programs; proper training for qualified professionals; efficient guidelines for an increased crisis preparedness and management; and positive practice environments for a motivated staff.

The Covid-19 crisis is an opportunity to learn. Despite its dreadful impact on many lives and healthcare systems, this crisis is also an opportunity to learn and increase people safety culture. The pandemic is now the world’s common enemy, but so should preventable harm. It is now important to share the lessons learnt worldwide, favour system-based approaches, and promote good practices to optimize the quality of care and the safety of people.

The spread of these messages and related key principles can be amplified in our global and flexible networks who rapidly disseminate what works and what can be learnt. ISQua and IHF endorse and promote the messages of the World Health Organization (WHO) to ‘Speak up for health worker safety!’. We are confident that all of our members share our principles and are working towards the elimination of preventable harm.

Download the statement here.

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