WHO Implication of the covid-19 pandemic for Patient Safety – a rapid review

10 August, 2022

August 9th 2022 – “WHO Implication of the covid-19 pandemic for Patient Safety – a rapid review”. This review can be found at this address - Patient safety (who.int)


The webinar on August 9th was organised by the WHO and Swiss Federal Office of Public Health. The meeting was chaired by Dr Neelam Dhingra Kumar MD (who heads the WHO Transformative Flagship Initiative “A Decade of Patient Safety 2021-2030” at WHO headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland. In this role. Dr Dhingra leads WHO’s global efforts in providing strategic).

The meeting was cochaired by Professor Sir Liam Donaldson, the WHO patient Safety envoy.

The Fifth Ministerial conference on Health Safety will be at Montreux, Switzerland, on the 23rd and 24th February. World Patient Safety Day will be on 17th September, preceded by a global webinar on Patient Safety on September 15th.

430 million adverse health events occur annually worldwide and 2.6 million deaths are attributed at least in part to adverse events.

The WHO rapid review defined some certain patient safety issues and others on which evidence was lacking and perhaps unlikely to be forthcoming as no prospective studies were put in place.

The report looked at “what impact did the pandemic have on health care delivery?” and “What are the patterns of these impacts”. Many risks associated with the covid pandemic are still ongoing.

6 building blocks of Patient Safety were recognised:

Health Services

Health and Safety of Health Care Professionals.

Patients, families and communities

Leadership, governance and financing

Communication and management of health information.

Development and delivery of technologies, medications, equipment etc.

The pandemic had influenced the WHO Patient safety view to include more public health and to become broader in scope. – not just looking at clinics and hospitals.

A suggestion was made for advanced planning of research of Patient Safety before future pandemics so that better evidence might be collected (perhaps automatically.)

Stephanie Newell, consumer advocate and founding member of WHO “Patients for Patient Safety” reported that:

“Families and patients had suffered from families not being included in the day to day conversations about care and dying.”

“If families cannot be present, families need to be explained why they cannot be present.”

“Lack of information from families not being able to attend their relatives site of care had been a cause distress and poorer outcomes.”

Re-evaluation and recognition of primary care territory was suggested.

This, to strengthen trust and communication between communities.

HIFA profile: Richard Fitton is a retired family doctor - GP. Professional interests: Health literacy, patient partnership of trust and implementation of healthcare with professionals, family and public involvement in the prevention of modern lifestyle diseases, patients using access to professional records to overcome confidentiality barriers to care, patients as part of the policing of the use of their patient data

Email address: richardpeterfitton7 AT gmail.com