Strengthening global patient safety

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), adverse events experienced by patients in the course of healthcare are among the top ten causes of illness and death worldwide. These are known as “adverse events”. Patient safety is primarily about preventing such adverse events and their consequences. Patient safety is a central issue in global public health, fundamental to strengthening health systems and providing high quality healthcare. Switzerland is also focusing on this issue.

Logo des 5. Patient Safety Summit, welcher vom 23.  - 24. Februar 2023 in Montreux, Schweiz, stattfinden wird. Das Logo zeigt ein weisses Kreuz, inmitten einer Kugel, welche in blauen und violetten Farben koloriert ist.

International activities

The consequences resulting from poor patient safety are a major and urgent public health challenge today. With the adoption of the resolution on "Global Action on Patient Safety" at the 2019 World Health Assembly, patient safety has also been recognized as a global health priority by the WHO member states. Global efforts to strengthen patient safety include di-verse elements:

Global Patient Safety Action Plan 2021-2030

In May 2021, the World Health Assembly adopted the Global Patient Safety Action Plan, "Towards eliminating avoidable harm in health care," as an international strategic plan for the next decade.

World Patient Safety Day

The above-mentioned resolution established September 17 as the official WHO World Patient Safety Day.

Various WHO initiatives

WHO regularly publishes evidence-based recommendations and guidelines for devel-oping strategies for its Member States and provides concrete guidance for practice.

Global Ministerial Summit on Patient Safety

Since 2016, the Global Ministerial Summit on Patient Safety has brought together high-level decision-makers and experts annually to discuss the quality of healthcare and necessary measures. The aim of the summit series is to raise awareness of pa-tient safety at all levels of the healthcare system and healthcare policy (see below ).

Other international platforms

Activities of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and initiatives within the G20 and G7 also contribute to strengthening patient safety at the international level.

More information on national patient safety activities can be found at the following links: Quality Development in Switzerland, NOSO Strategy, Health2030.

5th Global Ministerial Summit on Patient Safety 2023 in Switzerland

As a key element of its commitment to strengthening global patient safety, Switzerland hosted the 5th Global Ministerial Summit on Patient Safety in 2023. The summit in Switzerland focused on the concrete implementation of measures to strengthen patient safety.

The 5th Global Ministerial Summit on Patient Safety took place in Montreux on 23-24 February 2023. It brought together more than 600 experts and almost 80 ministerial delegations from around the world to discuss measures to strengthen patient safety.

The participants agreed that despite the progress that has been made worldwide, further efforts are still needed to ensure effective, high-quality care for all patients. In this respect, the lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic offer considerable potential for developing more resilient healthcare systems. The importance of the WHO's Global Patient Safety Action Plan 2021-2030 was also emphasised. This offers a comprehensive “timetable” for strengthening patient safety. The ministers and experts also recognised key national and international initiatives and the commitment of numerous interest groups around the world.
The summit was launched in 2016 and has so far taken place in the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and Saudi Arabia. The focus was on raising awareness of patient safety and publicising appropriate measures. Building on this, the event in Switzerland focused on their implementation. Internationally, the discrepancy between existing approaches and insufficient implementation (so-called "implementation gap") is spoken of in this context. In this sense, the motto of the summit in Switzerland was “Less harm, better care - from Resolution to Implementation”. The goal continues to be the adequate and sustainable implementation of the measures. Within the framework of the summit, Switzerland worked closely with international actors, including the WHO, the OECD and various partner countries.

Last modification 17.11.2023

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