Last 2 June, in Lisbon, the Presidents of the four Portuguese Health Professional Regulators (Dentists, Physicians, Pharmacists and Nurses) made a joint organization of a Conference dedicated to the subject «Patient safety versus system’s sustainability». The Health Minister was present at the conference opening.
Patient Safety was one of the important issues approached. I stated that one of the prerequisites for «Patient Safety» is the notion of quality at the service of patient safety. There has been a «simplification» of the definition of quality in Health, focused exclusively in the outcomes and neglecting the «structures and processes».
Patient expectations and behaviours are very important aspects that should be taken into account. Healthcare should be centred on the patients and the strengthening of this empowering is a key aspect in a modern health system.
I recalled that the «quality strategies in Health» are starting to be applied and measured through scales of healthcare providers and institutions, and some States are starting to report adverse incidents, to implement guidelines and to introduce accreditation / certification mechanisms. But we still need to find out if the information made available to citizens is sufficient.
Within the European Union there is the intention to «invert the burden of proof» for better patient safety, and because professionals have to prove all the procedures they do, they will have a «defensive posture» which will «question the sustainability of European countries’ national health systems».
Nevertheless, there should be «anonymous mechanisms of error reporting», which will have repercussions in the identification of the most common errors and adverse occurrences and will allow to share this information with professionals and the public in general.
It was a productive full day dedicated to this and other themes.