Patient Safety Day: In everybody’s interest

Today, September 17, is World Patient Safety Day and consumers and those who work to prevent infection are calling for all Australians to recognise the vital part we can all play in uniting to halt COVID-19.

The Consumers Health Forum of Australia and the Australasian College of Infection Prevention and Control are joining to observe World Patient Safety Day to champion the need for continued effort to combat COVID-19.

Australians to a large extent can be thankful that a combination of devoted work by clinicians including ACIPC members, and health staff, and a sensible response by most people has so far kept the spread of COVID within manageable levels.

We are also marking World Patient Safety Day to urge Australians to maintain their efforts to prevent infection --- wash your hands after any contact, use sanitiser, physically distance, wear a face mask in crowded places and observe government-prescribed public health measures.

The world’s experience with COVID in which we have seen the unexpected and rapid emergence of pandemic hotspots should provide a warning lesson to everybody that a single lapse in hygiene measures can have harmful results for scores of other innocent people.

Clearly pandemics effect all aspects of our lives, and the public interest in how the infection is spread, and prevention measures, demonstrates the importance of consumer involvement in infection prevention. Outside of pandemic times, increased consumer involvement in healthcare associated infections, such as those caused by antimicrobial resistant organisms, is crucial.  

As a recent research report into consumer knowledge about health care associated infection (HAI) concluded: “If public reporting of HAI data is to be aimed at consumers, further engagement with consumers is crucial to ensure the information provided is fit for purpose.”*

“World Patient Safety Day provides all Australians with an occasion to be thankful for those who ensure safety in health care.

 “Australians can be thankful for a strong health system, but we can do more to improve patient safety.  Consumers can play a central role by being more engaged and informed about their health care, including infection prevention.

“The COVID experience is showing that everybody has a part to play in keeping us all safe.  We need more recognition and support in the system to equip consumers with information to stay safe,” Ms Wells said.

The President of ACIPC, Phil Russo, said: “Infection prevention is everybody’s business, not just healthcare workers. We need consumers to be involved on all aspects of infection prevention. This includes research design, interventions and measuring and reporting outcomes. This pandemic has put infection prevention front and centre, and we need to take this level of interest and engagement through to all other areas of infection prevention.”

*See research report


Media contact

Mark Metherell
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