(Photo: WHO/Sharon Steele)

Milestones set by WHA resolutions and European bodies recommend that Member States promote and emphasize the role of patients to improve quality and safety of care.

Seen as ‘the most important common issue in health care internationally’ patient safety (an integral component of the quality of care) reflects the need for increased awareness and confidence in the system. Reducing the occurrence of medical errors and health-care related adverse events are proven to result from the integration and coordination of services, and patient/consumer involvement.

While directions of work are set globally, regionally shaped strategies aim to strengthen patient safety programmes by identifying country priorities, areas for regional collaboration and knowledge sharing. The Health 2020 context entails strengthening people centred health systems and the contributing process of road map development for coordinated/ integrated health services. National health authorities are encouraged to consider policies that can support safer care and engage patients, families and health care staff working together to improve patient safety.

Completing the field application of dedicated policy initiatives requires investment in health system strengthening and integration of environmental and health concerns in all public policies and actions. A strong safety culture and the availability of general information related to health remain a compulsory background for implementation. Modern technology needs to be used to support improved communication, strengthen data collection and empower patients to manage their health rights and needs.