World Patient Safety Day

Today, 17th September, is World Patient Safety Day – a day where 194 countries come together to recognise patient safety as a global health priority.

The slogan for the day is “Speak up for patient safety”, to increase public awareness and engagement, enhance global understanding, and spur global solidarity and action.

So what can you do to speak up for patient safety?

If you are a patient or caregiver

  • Be actively involved in your own care
  • It is good to ask questions; safe health care starts with good communication
  • Be sure to provide accurate information about your health history

From our work with health consumers, and from the personal experience of some of our staff, being prepared to speak up when you know something is not right with your care is a critical element in patient safety – even in the face of health professionals not immediately agreeing with you.

It is only by advocating for yourself, learning as much as you can, and feeling OK about asking questions that you can get the best health care. There are resources available to help you speak up and become more active in the important decisions around your healthcare.

The Choosing Wisely “5 Questions to ask your doctor” is a great prompt for starting important conversations with your doctor about your care.

The Question Builder tool can help you prepare for appointments. By creating a list of questions that you can print or email to yourself, you can get more out of your time with your doctor and remember what you want to discuss.

If you are a public health advocate or from a patient organisation

  • Promote patients’ voices in their own safe care
  • Advocate for safety in health care as a requirement

We have compiled these Self Advocacy resources that you may wish to share to help others advocate for themselves.

If this is an area you’d like to get more involved in, take a look at our Consumer Representation training. Consumer Representatives play an integral role in the Australian health care system. They provide vital information and ideas from a service user’s perspective, to health services and government committees. We can help you use your experience as a patient or carer to create a better health system.

If you are a health worker or health care leader

  • Engage patients as partners in their care
  • Work together for patient safety
  • Ensure continuous professional development to improve your skills and knowledge in patient safety
  • Create an open and transparent safety culture in health care settings
  • Encourage blame-free reporting of and learning from errors

If you are a policy maker

  • Investing in patient safety results in financial savings
  • Invest in patient safety to save lives and build trust
  • Make patient safety a national health priority

If you are a researcher, student, academic, or professional institution

  • Generate evidence to improve patient safety, your research matters
  • Encourage research in patient safety
  • Incorporate patient safety in educational curricula and courses

If you are from a professional association, international organisation or foundation

  • Promote patient safety for achieving universal health coverage
  • Provide learning and development opportunities for patient safety