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3/5/2020 4:00 AM

In May 2019, the 72nd World Health Assembly adopted resolution WHA72.6 “Global Action on Patient Safety” recognizing patient safety as a key global health priority. This was a watershed moment for patient safety around the world… It is truly time for Patient Safety Right Now!

The resolution established World Patient Safety Day to be observed annually on September 17th and Canada rose to the challenge with our celebration! Amongst several key actions, the resolution requests that the WHO Director-General to formulate a global patient safety action plan by May 2021 and report on its progress every two years at the World Health Assembly.

Sandi Kossey and Ioana Popescu at the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva

​Sandi Kossey and Ioana Popescu at the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva

To begin formulating this Global Patient Safety Action Plan, WHO brought together global experts, stakeholders and partners for three days in Geneva, Switzerland. As a revered national and global authority on patient safety improvement and as a WHO Collaborating Centre on Patient Safety and Patient Engagement, the Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI) was a critical contributor to the meeting. Sandi Kossey, Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships & Priorities, and Ioana Popescu, Senior Program Manager, joined other experts, advisors, researchers, academicians and representatives from all WHO Regions and Headquarters. More than 45 countries, 20 international organizations and associations, economic organizations, foundations and patient groups were represented, including members of the Patients for Patient Safety Advisory Group and Global Network which CPSI supports through its WHO Collaborating Centre Terms of Reference.

During the meeting, which was chaired by Sir Liam Donaldson with support from Ed Kelly and Neelam Dhingra, CPSI’s longstanding global leadership on patient partnership through its support to Patients for Patient Safety Canada was regarded as a gold standard which should be emulated and spread around the world via the action plan. Our successes with the Integrated Action Plan, the Conquer Silence Campaign, the Patient Alliance for Patient Safety, and the many foundational patient safety and patient engagement frameworks and resources were highlighted as potential contributors to the plan.

The Global Patient Safety Action Plan is a commitment of WHO, international health agencies and Member States to definitive action to reduce the overall burden of patient harm due to unsafe care and will be based on the guiding principles of equity, sustainability and accountability. The action plan will seek inspiration from and coherence with other global priorities and patient safety challenges. It will be strategically positioned to advance WHO’s work to achieve Universal Health Coverage and is aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Developmental Goals. The plan will be a roadmap for “A Decade of Patient Safety 2020-2030” as a WHO Flagship Initiative.

In the Executive Board Room of the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva, experts from 40 countries set the foundation for “A Decade of Patient Safety 2020-2030: Formulating the Global Patient Safety Action Plan”.

​ In the Executive Board Room of the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva, experts from 40 countries set the foundation for “A Decade of Patient Safety 2020-2030: Formulating the Global Patient Safety Action Plan”.


















Patient safety is finally being given the attention and priority it deserves. Canada should be proud of our commitment and successes so far, and of our global leadership in patient safety and patient engagement, and we should be inspired to join the global community in making care as safe as possible, as soon as possible. By the end of the decade, in 2030, we believe Canada and the world will have much to celebrate.

A PFPSC patient partner noted once that “the knowledge and energy within those who have experienced harm is like Niagara Falls before they were harnessed to produce the great social benefits that they have for so many years. There exists no more powerful experience than this to provide motivation to have something good come of something tragic – to honour the loved one that we have lost and to prevent others from suffering similar harm”.

The global patient safety action plan, “A Decade of Patient Safety 2020-2030” is set to harness the power of patients, providers and leaders from around the world to create visible and sustained patient safety improvement.

We can only do this with you. Reach out to Patients for Patient Safety Canada at patients@cpsi-icsp.ca