ISLAMABAD: If a patient dies due to the negligence of a healthcare professional, it is an insult for the entire medical fraternity.

This was the view of most of the participants of an ‘International patient safety conference’ that concluded on Monday.

The event was organised by Riphah International University and Riphah Institute of Healthcare Improvement and Safety in collaboration with Institute of Leadership Excellence (ILE) and Rawalpindi Medical University at different institutes in the twin cities.

Speaking at the event held at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims), Rawalpindi Medical University (RMU) Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Mohammad Umer said patient and human safety is an important pillar of Islamic teachings under which saving life of a single human being is equal to saving the entire humanity. He said it was the basic right of a patient to get quality treatment.

Experts say if a patient dies due to negligence of a healthcare professional, it is an insult for entire medical fraternity

ILE Director Dr Zakiuddin Ahmed said patient safety was a global concern and billions of dollars were being spent to ensure protection of lives of patients at healthcare facilities. However, very little attention is paid to this in Pakistan.

“Patient safety cannot be ensured without developing healthcare professionals as leaders and in order to build capacity of the healthcare professionals we are going to help RMU in establishment of a centre of healthcare leadership,” he said.

Prof Paul Barach said patient safety is a domain of inquiry that looks to design, deliver and improve the quality of service for patients so that they get the care they need without defects.

Prof Barach said patients and their family wanted to have a healthy life so that they can get away from healthcare but deplored that nowadays there were too many poorly-designed healthcare services, making it hard for patients to reach that goal.

“One in 10 patients is harmed in hospital care while 5.7 to 8.4 million deaths occur annually because of poor care in hospitals. Similarly, 2pc of the 234 million patients that go through surgical operations also experience complications,” he said, adding “such poor services are causing quite a financial burden globally.”

According to Prof Barach, the US spends more than $300 billion, approximately 2pc to 3pc of its gross domestic product, to fix the problem.

He stressed the need for legislation to protect rights of patients in Pakistan, training of healthcare providers and changing culture at the healthcare facilities to improve patient safety.

Prof Aziz Shaikh from University of Edinburgh called for use of technology, especially telemedicine, to keep patients away from healthcare facilities, saying healthcare could improve by the usage of technology in countries such as Pakistan where health facilities were overburdened with patients.

He called for improving primary healthcare facilities in Pakistan, saying by doing so, load on the tertiary-care facilities could be reduced, which would ultimately result in improved patient safety.

Pims Executive Director Prof Anser Maxsood and Riphah International University Executive Director Prof Dr Asadullah Khan also spoke.

Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2019