Qatar committed to patient safety and quality care

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The Ministry of Public Health building lights up in orange to mark the ‘First World Patient Safety Day’.

Qatar’s commitment in embracing a patient safety culture that puts quality and patient safety at the forefront was highlighted during the of 5th Qatar Patient Safety Week (QPSW) which was inaugurated by Minister of Public Health H E Dr Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari.

The Minister emphasised that the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) plays a crucial role in ensuring that the people living in Qatar receive the safest quality care available across the globe.

“The ambition comes from the visionary leadership of Amir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, as part of attaining Qatar National Vision 2030. Our healthcare system has progressed dramatically in the past few years, and the implementation of the National Health Strategy 2018-2022 shall make a remarkable difference to Qatar’s health journey,” said Dr Hanan. 

“Patient safety has been identified as one of the pillars that guides the process of strategy development and implementation,” the Minister added.

The 5th QPSW organised by MoPH, coincides with the celebration of the first World Patient Safety Day, which was approved by the World Health Organisation this year to enhance global understanding and solidarity to improve patient safety. The World Patient Safety Day was marked with slogan ‘Speak up for Patient Safety’.

“In May this year, the WHO endorsed the establishment of World Patient Safety Day (WPSD) to be observed annually on  September 17. 

“The WPSD is a campaign encouraging all stakeholders in the healthcare system to raise global awareness on patient safety and encourage global solidarity and action. 

“As part of Qatar’s commitments to the Global Action on Patient Safety, this year Qatar Patient Safety Week shall be joining hands with the WPSD celebrations adopting their slogan ‘Speak up for Patient Safety’,” said Dr Hanan. 

The Minister added: “Fear of speaking up is a persistent challenge that needs to be addressed in our collective efforts to reduce patient harm. Silence between patients and providers, between healthcare professionals working within the same facility, between public and governing bodies can inadvertently lead to inevitable harm. 

“It is important to acknowledge everyone’s role in bringing issues to light as soon as they are identified and acting proactively to mitigate risk.”
Following the official opening of the 5th QPSW and the accompanying conference, the Minister toured the exhibition hall, which includes pavilions of MoPH, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) other health institutions and a poster exhibition.

In a continuous effort to improve quality and safety of patient services, the MoPH has developed  many national guidelines and Virtual Reality videos simulating different situations, said Director of the Public Health Department, Sheikh Dr. Mohammed bin Hamad Al Thani. 

“Several projects and programmes implemented across healthcare facilities have made the healthcare system in Qatar safer for patients and employees. MoPH continuously work to increase patient safety. We have developed about 40 clinical and preventive guidelines hoping to increase it up to 80 for different illnesses including for obesity, diabetes and back pain. Every month we review and upgrade the guidelines,” said Dr. Al Thani, speaking to media on the sidelines of the opening session of QPSW. 

The two-day conference being held at the Ritz Charlton Doha features a diversity of  speakers and topics. The conference will discuss about local initiatives encouraging speaking up for patient safety, national clinical guidelines and digital health in relation to patient safety, patient safety in areas with unique challenges such as mental health and emergencies.   

“Encouraging patients and family members to speak up when they perceive a potential harm adds a crucial safety net as well as it improves their relationship with the care team and builds trust in the system that acknowledges their role in the safety of their loved ones. To achieve this, the organisations should encourage and empower both staff, patients and their families to speak up and voice their concerns if patient safety is at stake,” said Dr. Huda Al Katheeri, Acting Director, Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety Department at MoPH. 

The opening session featured a keynote speech by the Director of Usher Institute at the University of Edinburgh and Adviser to WHO Professor Aziz Sheikh. He called on Qatar to seize the opportunity to play an international leadership role in ‘Speaking Up for Patient Safety’ on behalf of patients across Qatar and indeed the world. 

“On this the first World Patient Safety Day, I will make the case for developing a culture in which errors can be discussed without fear, consider the key challenges that need to be overcome and offer suggestions on how this might achieve this at scale,” said Professor Aziz.


 While, a panel discussion highlighted on ‘Patient Safety and Quality of Care in Emergencies and Extreme Adversity.’ Speakers of the panel, included Kithsiri Athulathmudali, Sri Lankan Ambassador to Qatar; Dr. Mohammad Al Hajri from the MoPH; Dr. Abdelkader Wahelya Afrah from the Ministry of Health, Somalia; and Dr. Alaa Abouzeid from the WHO. 

More than 1,000 participants attend the two day conference with about 50%  from the private sector. 

QPSW, which will continue until September 21, is an annual event organised by the MoPH at the national-level as an initiative aimed at spreading the concept of patient safety among the public and healthcare workers. 
 Primary Health Care Corporation, Qatar Red Crescent Society HMC, Al Ahli Hospital, Doha Clinic Hospital and Aster hospital are all running their patient safety campaigns with varied focus on different patient safety aspects.   

Several buildings including the MoPH, Aster Hospital, the Torch Hotel light up in orange color to show solidarity with the WPSD celebrations.