Switzerland hosted the 5th Global Ministerial Summit on Patient Safety from 23–24 February 2023 at Montreux. The Global Ministerial Summits on Patient Safety have been very successful in raising awareness on Patient Safety issues all above the world. The Summit covers patient safety in different technical domains through a broader, public health policy perspective. The two-day summit at Montreux, brought together over 600 participants including 80 ministerial delegations from around the world to discuss measures to strengthen patient safety. The Summit showed an agreement amongst participants that although progress has been made but more efforts are needed to ensure the provision of effective and high-quality care to all patients worldwide. The experience and lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic provide great opportunity for the development of resilient health systems. The summit also highlighted the importance of the WHO’s Global Patient Safety Action Plan 2021–2030 that was adopted at the 74th World Health Assembly held in May 2021, and provided a comprehensive roadmap for strengthening patient safety.
The summit was inaugurated by the President of the Swiss Confederation, Alain Berset. Speaking at the occasion, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that ”there is still a huge burden of harm in health care, affecting millions of people every year. Safety lapses cause 2.6 million deaths each year in hospitals in low- and middle- income countries alone. It is estimated that more than half of these cases of patient harm are preventable. Unsafe care not only takes a huge toll on patients, their families and communities, it also leads to a loss of trust in health systems. But as we all know, patient safety is much more than simply having a set of rules. It means changing workplace culture, implementing processes to reduce errors, building the competencies of health workers, and ensuring a safe working environment. To transform patient safety, we must embrace a culture of safety where we report openly, learn from our mistakes and continually improve our systems. It is also critical to engage with patients and families so they can play an active role in their own care. That’s why I am pleased to announce that the theme for this year’s World Patient Safety Day is, “Engaging Patients for Patient Safety”. On the 17th of September, please join us in elevating the voice of patients, and in painting the world orange to raise awareness for patient safety everywhere.”
The World Patients Alliance (WPA) also participated in the 5th Global Ministerial Summit on Patient Safety. The WPA delegation consisted of Andrew Spiegel, WPA Chair, Jolanta Bilinska, WPA Treasurer and Hussain Jafri, WPA Executive Director. The WPA delegation held a number of meetings with other international healthcare stakeholders including, WHO Patient Safety Flagship Unit, International Hospital Federation (IHF), International Council of Nurses (ICN), World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA), International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua) and Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences (CIOMS). The WPA delegation also provided the much needed patients perspective into the summit.