What is patient safety?

Safety is a crucial consideration for patients and patients' organizations in every country and health system. Patient safety can be compromised in many ways including by use of counterfeit or substandard medicines, hospital cleanliness and medical or surgical errors. 

Patient safety has been confirmed by IAPO members as a priority since 2006. An international concerted effort is needed in order to address patient safety, encompassing medical errors, the integrity of medicines and quality of patient information amongst other issues. We were on the steering group of Patients for Patient Safety - one of the six action areas for the World Health Organization (WHO) World Alliance for Patient Safety, established in 2004.  


Policy briefing 2017


Patient safety represents is one of the basic features of patient-centred healthcare. However, it acquires even more importance when combined with other equally important principles. For example, access without safety is poor access. 

Whilst not sufficient, patient safety is a necessary condition for health systems to be said patient centric. This crucial link is well exemplified in the IAPO Declaration on Patient Centred Healthcare, in which, under the fourth principle, access and support, it is claimed that “patients must have access to the healthcare services warranted by their condition. This includes access to safe, quality and appropriate services, treatments, preventive care and health promotion activities”.

Read the policy briefing here.


Patient Safety Toolkit


Our toolkit on patient safety helps patients and patients' organizations to engage with stakeholders and contribute the patients' voice to actions that reduce harm and improve the quality and safety of their healthcare system. 


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