The Ministry of Health is working on two draft laws to increase patient safety. They are also supposed to increase the comfort of medical personnel. How do patients, doctors and nurses see this issue – this was discussed today at the conference of the initiative “Together for Health”.

The works on the draft law on quality in health care are being finalised. The Ministry hopes that later this year the document will be sent for public consultation. But the ministry is working on one more act of great importance for both patients and the entire medical staff. It is an act on medical events. The intention of the Ministry of Health is to introduce not only mechanisms for internal monitoring of these events, but also external control. This role would be fulfilled by a specially established Agency created on the basis of the current Centre for Quality Monitoring. The Ministry also wants to tidy up the long-neglected issue of medical registers. The point is to translate the indicators of effectiveness of treatment into the amount of financing of services and, as a result, to create a ranking of service providers.

What do patients expect?

The initiative “Together for Health” resulted in recommendations concerning the directions of system changes that would increase patient safety. In the first place, there is the repair of damage resulting from an adverse event, i.e. the creation of a system allowing free access to specialist medical assistance in such a situation.

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Another proposal is the creation of reference centres specialising in helping patients – victims of medical accidents and dealing with the repair of damage which has occurred in other institutions. According to patients, it is also necessary to improve the process of obtaining compensation and redress for medical accidents. It is also about their amount. They should ensure coverage of additional expenses related to corrective treatment.

As is apparent from the ‘Together for Health’ recommendation, reporting of adverse events should take place in a confidential but not anonymous manner. Both patients and medical staff, as well as hospital directors, would have the right to do so. The key, however, is the proper analysis of the data collected. Each medical facility should establish a team to investigate the causes of adverse events. It would also be responsible for implementing specific corrective procedures to minimise the risk of future occurrences.

There is also a need to create a publicly available register of adverse events which have occurred in individual healthcare entities. On this basis, among other things, a ranking of hospitals would ultimately be created, taking into account information about the effectiveness, safety and quality of treatment in medical institutions. According to the recommendations, hospitals which experience repeated adverse events and do not implement corrective programmes effectively should not receive public funding.

How does the medical community see the problem?

All such activities must have the support of the medical community, because if this is not the case, it will only be another fiction.

In his opinion, a lot depends also on how the message on this subject will be understood. Medical workers have doubts as to whether this message will be reliable. – A lot of cooperation is needed for this to work. We are running out of time, and in such an atmosphere as we have now, where there is a lot of animosity, it is impossible to achieve improvements. Besides, we are still in the culture of punishing the guilty