World Patient Safety Day 2022: Objectives and Resources

World Patient Safety Day 2022: Objectives and Resources

To mark the WHO World Patient Safety Day 2022, RCSEd Council Member and Chair of the Patient Safety Group Miss Anna Paisey looks at the theme and objectives of this year's campaign, and outlines some of the College's patient safety resources.

The Patient Safety Group of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh are delighted to lend our enthusiastic support to the fourth World Patient Safety Day (WPSD). This event, established by the World Health Organization in 2018 and which takes place on the 17th September every year, helps to raise global awareness about key Patient Safety issues.

The theme set by the WHO for this year’s WPSD was Medication Safety. Every person around the world will, at some point in their life, take medicines to prevent or treat illness. However, medicines can also cause serious harm if taken incorrectly, monitored insufficiently or as the result of an error, accident or communication problem.

It is well recognised that medication errors are a leading cause of avoidable harm in health care systems across the world, with the associated global cost estimated to be US$ 42 billion annually. Patients living in low-income countries are twice as likely to suffer significant medication-related harm than those in high-income countries. Medication errors occur when poor medication systems and/or human factors such as fatigue, poor environmental conditions or staff shortages affect prescribing, transcribing, dispensing, administration and monitoring practices, which can then result in severe harm, disability and even death. All medication errors are potentially avoidable, and they can be greatly reduced by improving the systems underpinning medication practice/delivery.

The objectives of this year’s WPSD day were to 1) raise global awareness of the high burden of medication related harm due to medication errors and unsafe practices and advocate urgent action to improve medication safety, 2) to engage key stakeholders in efforts to prevent medication related harm, 3) to empower patients and families to be actively involved in safe use of medicines and 4) to scale up implementation of the WHO 3rd Global PS Challenge: Medication Without Harm – this was originally launched in 2017 with the aim of improving medication safety by strengthening the systems for reducing medication errors and avoidable medication-related harm.

This 3rd global PS challenge campaign focuses on four key domains: patients & public, healthcare professionals, medicines and systems. Three key action areas have been identified that span across these domains: polypharmacy, high-risk situations and transitions of care.



(© World Health Organization 2018. Some rights reserved. This work is available under the CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO licence.)

The campaign also promoted the 5 Moments for Medication Safety resource. This is a patient engagement tool which focuses on 5 key moments where action by the patient or carer can reduce the risk of harm associated with medication use. It aims to engage and empower patients to be involved in their own care.

It is hoped that all involved in health care – from policy makers, hospital managers, healthcare workers and patients/families themselves – will have learned and benefitted from the campaign to make medication safer for all.

To mark this year’s campaign, over the coming week the College will be running a series of blogs on key surgical and dental topics in this area, including patient experiences of coping with multiple medications, role of shared decision making when prescribing, importance of antibiotic resistance and antibiotic stewardship, safe management of anticoagulation, immunosuppression and diabetes in the peri-operative period, and a host more. I hope that you find all of these interesting.

Upholding patient safety and ensuring the highest possible standards of patient care have been at the heart of the College’s activity since it was founded over 500 years ago. The Patient Safety Group supports and coordinates all the College’s Patient Safety initiatives. We have a multidisciplinary membership drawn from all the faculties of the College and including representation from both the wider surgical team and patients themselves.

Over the years, the College has worked hard to develop numerous resources to help improve patient safety. These have taken many forms and include:

Training Courses: These include the highly successful NOTSS Programme and PINTS Course, which aim to educate the whole peri-operative team in the non-technical skills which underpin safe operative surgery, and the innovative ICONS workshop which was developed with patients to provide training in sharing the complex decisions involved in informed consent.

Web-based Resources: These include the Surgical Ward Round Toolkit which aims to reduce errors and improve safety on surgical ward rounds.

Patient Safety Webinars: This very popular 10-part series featured contributions from renowned world experts in the patient safety arena drawn from a wide range of disciplines.

Let’s Talk Surgery Patient Safety Podcasts: These experts have also contributed to the College’s podcast series allowing more in-depth personal discussion on key Patient Safety topics. All sessions were recorded and remain available to College Members and Fellows on the Education section of our website.

MSc in Patient Safety and Clinical Human Factors: We have also worked with the University of Edinburgh as part of the Edinburgh Surgery OnLine Series to develop an MSc in Patient Safety and Clinical Human Factors. This 3-year, part-time programme supports any graduate health care professional in using evidence-based tools to improve the safety of everyday health care systems.

National Campaigns: These include the very successful LetsRemoveit campaign, running since 2017, to reduce bullying and undermining, and its resultant detrimental effect on Patient Safety in the surgical and dental workplace. A large range of resources have been developed to help in this area, and the College were instrumental in forming the anti-bullying alliance with other national bodies.

Staff Resilience and Wellbeing: We also recognize that staff resilience and wellbeing is a major factor in helping to ensure safe patient care. Improving surgical team wellbeing and mental health has been a major focus for the College over the last year. The College Trainees Committee has taken the lead in this, and the PSG have been proud to support them in this endeavour.

The Committee have run very successful wellbeing weeks over the last two years. These raised awareness of the importance of wellbeing amongst all members of the surgical team and included various activities such as daily webinars, virtual workshops and sessions on cooking, mindfulness, yoga, art and how to make work fun. CPD points for the webinars in the series were provided, underlining the importance that the College places on this subject.

Last Autumn, the College launched the 'Moon and Back’ campaign to encourage all members of the surgical team to take time out of their busy schedules to focus on their mental health.

The College have also developed several national guidelines to influence healthcare policy & improve the working environment, such as Improving the Working Environment for Safe Surgical Care and Improving Safety Out of Hours.

We are also proud to be able to endorse the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Wellbeing Charter for Doctors which describes the principles that guide the wellbeing of doctors and the shared responsibilities for wellbeing of the medical profession.

Patient, Carer Support: The Patient Safety Group have also been working hard over the last year to develop high quality, innovative and accessible resources to support surgical and dental patients and their carers. It is hoped that these resources will help patients to better navigate surgical care and empower them to be advocates for their own health.

Please visit the College’s website and social media channels for more information on all these resources. It is great to be able to share these with you and to help raise awareness of the importance of patient safety in our everyday surgical and dental practice.

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