World Patient Safety Day – 17 September

Published on 15 Sep 2023

What is World Patient Safety Day? Each year 17 September is World Patient Safety Day. Initially started in 2019 and coordinated by the World Health Organization (WHO), World Patient Safety Day calls for global solidarity and rigorous action by all to ensure continued improvement and commitment to patient safety across all healthcare industries. This includes patients, health care leaders, policy makers, clinicians and caregivers.

The aim of World Patient Safety Day is to promote and enhance global understanding of patient safety. Essentially, it is a day to acknowledge patient safety as a “global health priority” with the aim to get key stakeholders in the health and social care industries to promote, prevent and protect against avoidable harm.

A theme for World Patient Safety Day is assigned annually and this year the theme is “elevating the voice of patients”. The focus with this year’s theme is promoting the crucial role patients, families and caregivers play in ensuring ongoing safety within health care. The objectives this year, under the umbrella of patient safety, are

1) to raise global awareness of the “need for active engagement of patients and their families in all settings”;

2) to encourage policy makers, clinicians, stakeholders and leaders to engage families in the discussions surrounding policy and practice for safe health care;

3) to empower patients to be actively involved in their own healthcare; and

4) to advocate urgent action on patient and family engagement, in alignment with the Global Patient Safety Action Plan 2021-2030.

Why is it necessary?

Awareness of days like this are vitally important as it keeps the conversation of patient safety alive. It brings the issue to the forefront of everyone’s minds and allows people across the healthcare industry - across the world - to publicly commit to achieving change.

Patient safety is a global priority but strains and complexities within our, and other healthcare systems, such as staffing issues, budgeting strains and lack of resources - can make it difficult to deliver care and treatment devoid of error and harm.

World Patient Safety Day recaptures our focus and breathes life back into the issue. In turn, this is hoped to provide continued review, discussion and opportunities for improvement, learning and development of errors and adverse events recounted since the previous year.

The Role of Clinical Negligence:

As specialist clinical negligence lawyers, we mirror the objectives and reasoning behind World Patient Safety Day as we deal daily with cases where patients have experienced harm due to a lack of patient safety. Our drive is to ensure governance and review goes hand in hand with the WHO’s objectives. Presenting claims on behalf of patients and their families leads to discussions happening internally within NHS Trusts and GP practices about their policies and practice. As a consequence of those discussions, areas of concern can be identified and changes proposed which, when implemented, can help reduce avoidable errors and improve patient safety and care.

Increased patient safety would reduce the amount of claims we see where outdated or poorly implemented policies cause avoidable harm and risk to patients.


The most important tool to help bring about change in terms of patient safety are the voices of our clients and their families.

If you have questions or concerns over ongoing treatment, you should feel able to safely ask questions, empowered to trust your instincts and start discussions and seek second opinions if necessary. It is vital that we are all involved in our own care, or the care of a loved one, to ensure we get the best out of our healthcare systems.

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