English | Dzongkha Sunday, February 23, 2020

Taking patient safety to the next level

Sep 12, 2019

A good number of policies and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), with regard to patient safety in the Bhutanese health sector, are in place, yet not many are found to be implementing it adequately.

Highlighting this at the closing of the first National Symposium on Patient Safety yesterday, Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering called for a change in the way things are done. He urged the health workers to try and develop empathy before sympathy to improve patient safety.

After participating in multiple debates and discussions on Patient Safety during the last two days, health professionals from across the country managed to come up with 19 patient safety recommendations and 4 staff safety recommendations. They presented their set of recommendations to the Prime Minister yesterday.

Going through the recommendations collected from the symposium, Lyonchhen said he did not see anything new there. He added despite a good number of policies in place we lack implementation.

“We have more than four hundred SOPs in Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referal Hospital (JDWNRH). If we do not ensure patient safety with this number of policies in place, then something is wrong. What is wrong? Whenever we gather we collect a lot of information on best practices from across the world. We try to copy references and get references from the outside world and come up with very good documents to be followed but it ends there. We lack Implementations,” Lyonchhen said.

Lyonchen added like patient safety and staff safety, safety of the healthcare system is also vitally important.

“If we do not have empathy, the communications skills will be far from what we intend or what we expect. The moment you put yourself in that with a very sympathetic and passionate mind, and if we have empathy, then I feel 90 per cent of patient safety is taken care of. And on the other note, we need to have collaboration. Policy followers should be aware of the policy framers and policy content,” he added.

Taking note of all the recommendations made during the closing session of the national symposium, the final recommendations will now be presented during the biennial health conference which will be held in Tsirang soon.

Aware of the importance of patient safety, the 72nd World Health Assembly endorsed the establishment of the World Patient Safety Day this year. Accordingly, 17 September will now be observed as the World Patient Safety Day worldwide every year.

Passang Dorji

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