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"Patients are not empowered to prevent their own harm", says Sir Liam Donaldson


Today, Sir Liam Donaldson is chairing a patient safety meeting at the World Health Organization (WHO) 'A Global Consultation – A decade of Patient Safety 2020–2030' to formulate a Global Patient Safety Action Plan. His introductory address this morning focused on the task ahead – to maintain the World Health Assembly resolution momentum and patient safety as a global movement. 

"Patients are not empowered to prevent their own harm", Donaldson said, as he highlighted patient stories of unsafe care and the alarming parallels of patient and family experiences across the world. 

So where is the power? Donaldson went on to to highlight how the six current power blocks are not doing enough to improve safety and that we need to engage and motivate these power blocks to achieve change:

  • Designing of health systems – we have not seen much evidence of systems being designed for safety.
  • Health leaders are not using their power to lead for reduced harm.
  • Educational institutions – these have to happen faster to train staff in.
  • Research community – has patient safety research led to sustainable reduction in risk?
  • Data and information – how has this improved patient safety?
  • Industry – pharma doing very little on medication packaging and labelling; medical devices industry also could do more.
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