First International Patient Safety Day: “We want to create awareness for preventable risks”


“It´s high time for an International Patient Safety Day”, thought the relevant institutions of the three countries Austria, Switzerland and Germany – and initiated one. The purpose is to signalize that patient safety takes a key role in medical care.
We spoke with one of the initiators, Dr. Brititte Ettl, President of the Platform for Patient Safety Austria.

Mrs. Ettl, hard to believe that until now there did not exist an International Patient Safety Day. After all Patient Safety is one of the most discussed items within the healthcare sector!

In fact, there had so far been no real attempt to implement one. Some years ago there was an effort of the WHO, but for any reason nothing came out of it.

It is called “international“ Day – how do you want to get attention from other countries? Where is the focus?

In particular we want to sensitise those countries, with whom exist already connections. For example, my colleague from Switzerland, Dr. Dieter Conen is in contact with France and Italy.

What is about the CEE countries?

Of course – this region is very important. We are for example in close contact with the colleagues from Croatia and hope to reach also other countries of the Central an East European Countries.

What is your main intention with this initiative?

The international Patient Safety Day thrives on participation. We want to mobilize all players and increase public awareness for preventable risks in hospitals. The motto is: Each infection, which can be prevented, avoids suffering and cost. If all work together, infections caused by treatments in healthcare facilities can be reduced to a minimum.

Is there any motto for today, the first International Patient Safety Day?

Yes – “Hygiene and avoiding infections in healthcare facilities” is the motto of this year´s Patient Safety day. All healthcare facilities in Austria, Germany and Switzerland – from hospitals to nursing homes, rehabilitation centers to doctor’s offices – are invited to present what they are already doing to prevent infections and other risks. And also the patients and potential patients are involved – they can learn how to protect themselves effectively.

Platform Patient Safety (A): www.plattformpatientensicherheit.at
Coalition for Patient Safety (D): www.aps-ev.de
Foundation for Patient Safety (CH): www.patientensicherheit.ch