This survey, a collaboration between the International Society for Quality in Healthcare (ISQua) and the International Hospital Federation (IHF) was designed to frame the WHO Global Consultation on Patient Safety, which was held from 24-26 February 2020 to kick off the development of the Global Patient Safety Action Plan. Already then, the pandemic-to-be was affecting various regions, before striking health systems worldwide.
The question of patient safety is a critical one in the discussion about COVID-19: hygiene and hospital-acquired infections, non-suitable hospital architecture, delayed surgeries and procedures, lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and much more affected the safety of patients as well as of health workers, to whom the World Patient Safety Day 2020 is dedicated.
In February 2020, the IHF disseminated a short survey on national safety plans to its Full Members, hospitals’ national/regional representatives. At the same time, ISQua disseminated their survey asking how well incident reporting is in place, and if the outcomes improve the 'no blame no shame' approach to their Individual and Institutional Members.
The surveys were repeated in July 2020 to see if the onset of COVID-19 had made any positive or negative changes to the responses.
Key points from the survey
- A safety culture is critical for the protection of staff and patients.
- Psychological Safety for healthcare workers is an essential requirement of all safe health systems
- People (patient & health worker) safety is inherent in healthcare and Coproduction is the foundation of all initiatives.
- Measurement of what works well is essential so that there can be learning at all levels.
- Reporting of clinical incidents is a vital part of learning and needs to be undertaken within a just culture which is blame-free, with clear accountability.
- The COVID-19 pandemic revealed experiences of good practice and areas where health services need to improve, particularly in the protection of staff and looking after their mental wellbeing.
- Crisis management is a critical part of health services management.
- Managing the flow of people through the service is important to control infection.