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Wirral University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

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Health Worker Safety: A Priority for Patient Safety

Wirral University Teaching Hospital (WUTH) is celebrating World Patient Safety Day on 17 September 2020 when the World Health Organisation (WHO) will launch a global campaign with the theme ‘Safe health workers, Safe patients’, emphasising health worker safety as a precursor for patient safety and urging people to show their commitment to make health care safer for everyone.

This year’s focus is as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has exerted unprecedented pressure on health services and health workers, many of whom have also been harmed while responding to COVID-19 pandemic.

Hazel Richards, Chief Nurse and Director of Infection Prevention and Control at Wirral University Hospital Teaching Hospital Trust said:

“The campaign theme is that by looking after our healthcare workers, they can then give better care to patients. We know this all too well in WUTH and have put a great deal of effort into staff physical and mental wellbeing, and building personal and team resilience. So on World Patient Safety Day I want to thank our staff across all areas who work as a team and to urge people to take the time to look after themselves and their work colleagues so that we give the best care to our patients.”

The campaign aims to mobilise patients, health workers, health leaders, policy-makers, academics, researchers, professional networks, the private sector and health care industry to speak up for health worker safety to improve the safety of health care, and reduce the risk of harm, both to health workers and patients.

For patients, families, caregivers, communities and the wider public the campaign is asking us to recognise that safer care for us, starts with us as healthcare workers. According to the WHO, safe health care also starts with good communication, it’s good to ask questions and we should be actively involved in our own care. It’s also important to provide accurate information about our health and medical history –including staff taking part in health risk assessments. We should also adhere to appropriate infection prevention and control practices and wear the correct PPE.

The WHO is calling on all stakeholders to implement urgent and sustainable actions which recognize and invest in the safety of health workers, as a priority for patient safety. Finally, they want to see due recognition of health workers’ dedication and hard work, particularly amid the current fight against COVID-19.