WHO News: The Montreux Charter on Patient Safety galvanizes action to address avoidable harm in health care (2)

4 March, 2023

The WHO Global Patient Safety Action Plan includes patient access to their records -

Guiding principles

9 3.1 Engage patients and families as partners in safe care

9 3.2 Achieve results through collaborative working

9 3.3 Analyse and share data to generate learning

9 3.4 Translate evidence into actionable and measurable improvement

10 3.5 Base policies and action on the nature of the care setting

10 3.6 Use both scientific expertise and patient experience to improve safety

10 3.7 Instil a safety culture in the design and delivery of health care


Section 4

"Engage and empower patients and families to help and support the journey to safer health care

"Patient engagement and empowerment is perhaps the most powerful tool to improve patient safety. Patients, families and other informal caregivers bring insights from their experiences of care that cannot be substituted or replicated by clinicians, managers or researchers. This is especially so for those who have suffered harm. Patients, families and caregivers can serve as vigilant observers of a patient’s condition and can alert health care professionals when new needs arise. Given proper information, the patient and family can help to be the eyes and ears of the system."

"Integrate patient and family engagement into the health care professionals curriculum, and develop standardized patient and family engagement competencies. Educate patients and families about their health and health care, support patients in managing their own health, and train families to deliver care, especially in responding to patients’ needs in a home care environment. Develop patient information materials on clinical procedures, including safety risks, to empower patients when seeking information from health care professionals. Implement communication mechanisms that help clinicians understand patient perspectives and concerns. Structure care processes to support information sharing, care planning, self management and shared decision-making, and implement patient-centred tools for patients and clinicians to support shared decision-making"

"Strategy 4.4: Establish the principle and practice of openness and transparency throughout health care, including through patient safety incident disclosure to patients and families:

Actions for governments Develop national guidance for informed consent, for patient access to their medical records, and for a patient and family to escalate care concerns if they perceive a patient to be deteriorating.

Actions for health care facilities and services Develop institutional policies for robust informed consent, for patient access to their medical records, and for emergency escalation systems that can be triggered by patients and families.

Actions for stakeholders Raise awareness about safety reporting systems, the right to access medical records, the right to informed consent and the right to an emergency response, including other patient safety avenues available to patients.


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