The 5th Qatar Patient Safety Week (QPSW) was inaugurated on Tuesday by HE the Minister of Public Health Dr Hanan Mohamed al-Kuwari at Ritz Carlton Doha. The day is marked under the slogan: "Speak up for patient safety!”
The event, organised by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), coincides with the celebration of the first World Patient Safety Day (WPSD), approved by the World Health Organisation this year to enhance global understanding and solidarity to improve patient safety.
Dr al-Kuwari said that MoPH plays a crucial role in ensuring that the people in Qatar receive the safest quality care available across the globe.
"Our healthcare system has progressed dramatically in the past few years, and the implementation of the National Health Strategy 2018-2022 shall make a remarkable difference to Qatar's health journey," she said.
Dr al-Kuwari also emphasised that patient safety has been identified as one of the pillars that guides the process of strategy development and implementation.
"The WPSD is a campaign encouraging all stakeholders in the healthcare system to raise global awareness on patient safety and encourage global solidarity and action. This year Qatar Patient Safety Week shall be joining hands with the WPSD celebrations"explained Dr al- Kuwari.
"Fear of speaking up is a persistent challenge that needs to be addressed in our collective efforts to reduce patient harm. Silence between patients and providers, between healthcare professionals working within the same facility, between public and governing bodies can inadvertently lead to inevitable harm. It is important to acknowledge everyone’s role in bringing issues to light as soon as they are identified and acting proactively to mitigate risk," she highlighted.
Following the official opening, the minister toured the exhibition hall, which includes the pavilions of MoPH and other health institutions as well as the poster exhibition.
Welcoming the gathering, MoPH's Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety Department acting director Huda al-Katheeri recalled that QPSW was launched as a national annual event in 2014 to raise awareness and spread the concepts of patient safety among all healthcare providers as well as the public across Qatar.
"It was also meant to celebrate important patient safety initiatives implemented across our healthcare sector, listen to our local speakers talk about their achievements as well as their challenges, and listen to international and regional speakers to learn from their successes."
According to al-Katheeri, QPSW provides a platform to share knowledge, learn from other experiences and enhance collaboration and communication across the sector and other relevant sectors.
Al-Katheeri aslo noted that speaking up on patient safety concerns can have profound effect on preventing harm, promoting employees' psychological safety, teamwork among units, opportunities to learn and improve. It also helps in decreasing staff turnover, and ultimately costs.
She added that this year there are more than 1,000 participants and 50% of them are from the private sector which shows huge interest and commitment to patient safety.
In his keynote address, the director of Usher Institute at the University of Edinburgh and adviser to World Health Organisation, Prof Aziz Sheikh, called on Qatar to seize the opportunity to play an international leadership role in ‘Speaking Up for Patient Safety’ on behalf of patients across Qatar and the world.
"On this the first World Patient Safety Day, I will make the case for developing a culture in which errors can be discussed without fear, consider the key challenges that need to be overcome and offer suggestions on how this might achieve this at scale." Prof Sheikh noted.
The keynote was followed by a panel discussion on the topic 'Patient Safety and Quality of Care in Emergencies and Extreme Adversity.' Several buildings including MoPH headquarters, Aster Hospital and Torch Hotel will light up in orange colour at sunset today to express solidarity with WPSD celebrations.
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