Today, Friday 17 September, CUH is joining hospitals all around the globe to celebrate World Patient Safety Day 2021.

Each year, a new theme is selected to shed light on a priority patient safety area where action is needed to reduce avoidable harm in health care and achieve universal health coverage. This year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has decided to focus on safety in maternal and newborn care. This is especially important in the context of disruption of health services due to the current pandemic, which has further compounded the situation.

Globally, an estimated 1.8 billion people, or 24% of the world’s population, live in fragile contexts that are challenged in delivering quality essential health services. A proportion of preventable maternal, childhood and neonatal deaths occur in these settings.

Between 5.7 and 8.4 million deaths are attributed to poor quality care each year in low- and middle-income countries, which represents up to 15% of overall deaths in these countries.

The overarching aim of universal health coverage (UHC) is for all people who need health services to receive high quality care without financial hardship and this is supported by the WHO. The UN Political Declaration on Universal Health Coverage, adopted by world leaders in 2019, reaffirmed the commitment to progressively cover one billion additional people by 2023 with quality essential health services, with a view to cover all the world’s people by 2030.

Full details on this year’s World Patient Safety Day are available on the World Health Organisation website.


Calls to action

The 5 main areas of focus for World Patient Safety Day 2021 are:

  • Women in pregnancy and around the time of childbirth – Women should be encouraged to attend antenatal appointments and be supported to raise concerns with their healthcare providers.
  • Spouses or partners, families and communities – Support your spouse or partner during pregnancy and around the time of childbirth. Also, to speak up for the rights of your loved ones to safe and respectful care during pregnancy and after childbirth.
  • Health workers – strive to make childbirth a positive experience for all women and newborns by providing safe and quality care. Build trust, and engage and empower women in decision-making during childbirth.
  • Healthcare leaders and facility managers – should be encouraged to invest in health worker safety, wellbeing, capacity and supportive supervision as a priority for safety in healthcare.
  • Policy-makers and programme managers – should be encouraged to invest in health systems: allocate sufficient resources for equitable access to safe and quality maternal and newborn health services. Build a competent and sufficient health workforce, supported by a safe and enabling work environment. Establish mechanisms to engage women, families, communities, health professional associations and civil society to establish safer maternal and newborn health services Establish reporting and learning systems to guide improvements in maternal and neonatal care.


Events today

There are a number of virtual events that CUH that staff can attend:


Taking action at CUH – video sessions

The patient safety team are also making pre-recorded sessions available to all staff, to demonstrate what we’re doing at CUH to support safe effective care for mothers and babies. More will be added as they are made available:

Rosie Maternity Voices

Richard Smith, head of patient safety and clinical quality improvement, speaks to Caroline Zwierzchowska-Dod, chair of the Rosie Maternity and Neonatal Voice Partnership.

Watch their conversation here.

Maternity safety

  • Richard Smith, head of patient safety and clinical quality improvement
  • Kimberley Skinner, lead midwife for quality and patient experience
  • Jennie Rollason, midwife and clinical lead for patient safety
  • Carla Evans, neonatal nurse and risk and corporate quality manager

Watch their discussion here.