Engaging patients for patient safety: World Patient Safety Day 2023

  • 4th September 2023

In this blog, Patient Safety Learning looks ahead to World Patient Safety Day 2023 and the theme of this year’s event, ‘Engaging patients for patient safety’.

We are now just under two weeks away from the fifth annual World Patient Safety Day, organised by the World Health Organization (WHO), set to take place on Sunday 17 September 2023. The theme of this year’s World Patient Safety Day is ‘Engaging patients for patient safety’.[1]

For decades safety investigations and reports have highlighted failures to listen to and involve patients in their care and when harm has occurred. We see this manifest itself in a range of ways, including:

At Patient Safety Learning, we identify patient engagement as one of the six foundations of safer care in our report, A Blueprint for Action.[7] We believe that patients should be engaged for safety at the point of care, if things go wrong, in improving services, in advocating for changes and in holding the system to account. Improving and increasing patient and family engagement is also one of the seven strategic objectives of the WHO Global Patient Safety Action Plan 2021-2030.[8]

Four key themes

As World Patient Safety Day approaches, to highlight the important role of patients, families and caregivers in helping to improve and maintain patient safety, we will be sharing a number of blogs and interviews centred around four key themes:

  1. Shared decision making at the point of care.
  2. Engaging patients when things go wrong.
  3. Engaging patients for system improvement.
  4. Patients as advocates and campaigners.

Join our webinar with the Patient Safety Commissioner

We will also be holding a free webinar on Friday 15 September with the Patient Safety Commissioner for England on the importance of patient engagement for patient safety, discussing the opportunities to increase this and the barriers that need to be overcome,. You can find more details on the webinar and how to register here.

Share your experiences on the hub

Do you have an experience around patient involvement and engagement for patient safety that you would like to share? Or perhaps you are a healthcare professional looking to share your frontline insights to help improve patient safety?

You can share your thoughts with us by commenting below (sign up here for free first), submitting a blog, or by emailing us at [email protected].


[1] WHO, World Patient Safety Day 2023 Engaging Patients for Patient Safety, Last accessed 30 August 2023. https://www.who.int/news-room/events/detail/2023/09/17/default-calendar/world-patient-safety-day-2023--engaging-patients-for-patient-safety

[2] Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, Broken trust: making patient safety more than just a promise, 26 June 2023. https://www.ombudsman.org.uk/publications/broken-trust-making-patient-safety-more-just-promise-0

[3] Independent Investigation into East Kent Maternity Services, Maternity and neonatal services in East Kent – the Report of the Independent Investigation, 19 October 2022. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/maternity-and-neonatal-services-in-east-kent-reading-the-signals-report

[4] Patient Safety Learning, Will lessons be learned? An analysis of the systemic failures in the East Kent Maternity report, 17 November 2022. https://www.patientsafetylearning.org/blog/will-lessons-be-learned-an-analysis-of-the-systemic-failures-in-the-east-kent-maternity-report

[5] Patient Safety Learning, Failures of informed consent and the impact on women’s health: a Patient Safety Learning blog, 8 March 2023. https://www.patientsafetylearning.org/blog/failures-of-informed-consent-and-the-impact-on-womens-health

[6] Patient Safety Learning, Redress, research and regulatory reform are still needed: An overview of patient safety issues related to surgical mesh, 1 May 2023. https://www.patientsafetylearning.org/blog/redress-research-and-regulatory-reform-are-still-needed-an-overview-of-patient-safety-issues-related-to-surgical-mesh

[7] Patient Safety Learning, The Patient-Safe Future: A Blueprint for Action, 2019. https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/ddme-psl/content/A-Blueprint-for-Action-240619.pdf

[8] WHO, Global Patient Safety Action Plan 2021-2030, 3 August 2021. https://www.who.int/teams/integrated-health-services/patient-safety/policy/global-patient-safety-action-plan

WPSD Kick Off Image Website


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