As part of World Patient Safety Day in September 2020, the World Health Organisation presented a new Charter: ‘healthcare worker safety: a priority for patient safety’.

The Charter is dedicated to the millions of health workers fighting COVID-19 across the globe who put themselves and their families at risk to treat patients, deliver essential health services and contain the spread of the disease; and to those who have lost their lives in their unstinting efforts to combat the disease.

The Charter helps highlight some of the strains placed on health workers that can have a negative affect on both their own and patient safety. It points out how violence against health workers, burnout, and musculoskeletal disorders are all widespread occupational health problems.

The charter states that to preserve the physical and mental health of health workers is essential to ensure the delivery of safe care and avoid patient safety incidents. Concluding that, Physically and psychologically sound health workers are less prone to make errors, contributing to safer care. The safety of health workers therefore directly impacts the safety of patients

Recognising healthcare worker safety as a priority for patient safety the Charter calls for the following five global and urgent actions:

  1. Establish synergies between health worker safety and patient safety policies and strategies
  2. Develop and implement national programmes for occupational health and safety of health workers
  3. Protect health workers from violence in the workplace
  4. Improve mental health and psychological well-being of health workers
  5. Protect health workers from physical and biological hazards

You can read the full charter here: