This week, Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has attended the Fourth Global Summit on Patient Safety. The theme for this year’s event, taking place in Saudi Arabia, focuses on patient safety in low- and middle-income countries.
The summit was established in 2016 by Jeremy Hunt when he formed the partnership with the then German health minister. Since then, four summits have taken place in a bid to inspire and establish an international policy. It is hoped the summit will help to kickstart action and support for the objectives set forward by the UK for patient safety at the World Health Assembly.
This year, the conference hopes to inspire further work to improve global health and as a result, enables a pass on the ‘Global Action on Patient Safety’ resolution at the World Health Assembly in May 2019. One aspect of the resolution includes the introduction of an annual World Patient Safety Day taking place on the 17th September.
What is the Patient Safety initiative?
Set forward by Jeremy Hunt, the Patient Safety initiative hopes to reduce the number of deaths in a healthcare setting. This objective will be realised by improving communication, technology and awareness of hygiene and welfare standards. As a result of the work done by Jeremy Hunt for his Patient Safety initiative, he has received a Humanitarian Award.
The reason behind the Patient Safety initiative has come about due to the alarming statistics that one in every 300 patients around the world will be harmed while accessing healthcare. Furthermore, 1 million people die every year from surgical complications while 7 million people per year suffer from disabling surgical complications.
However, by increasing patient safety, there is a chance for countries to make significant financial savings. For example, the United States saved $28 billion in five years through patient safety initiatives.
Speaking ahead of the summit, Jeremy Hunt said;
“Patient safety has never been more important. Sixty-four million life years are currently lost annually due to unsafe care around the world, making patient harm due to adverse events one of the top ten causes of death and disability, on a par with tuberculosis and malaria.
In low and middle-income countries, unsafe care causes 2.6 million deaths annually – but half of these could easily be prevented through simple mitigation strategies. The UK is committed to driving positive change across the world to reduce the number of preventable deaths.”