FOREWORD by Ara Darzi, Professor, Lord Darzi of Denham

Dear Secretary of State for Health, Ministers and distinguished experts,

In the decade and a half since To Err is Human, safety has become embedded in the lexicon of policymakers, healthcare professionals and the media inmost developed countries. We’ve untangledsome of the root causes of error and have implemented specific interventions which have shown immense promise in reducing patient harm. On the other hand, research and intervention continue to be concentrated in particular settings of care and as serious policy priorities, safety and quality have received far less attention in developing nations than is deserved.

With this report we have reached a watershed. If we are to save more lives and significantly reduce patient harm we need to adopt a holistic, systematic approach that extends across professional, cultural, technological and procedural boundaries. It is my hope that we emerge collectively with greater clarity on the tools available to reduce harm and the principles underpinning their deployment to catalyse and sustain a truly global movement on patient safety.

As we shift our attention to the next 15 years of patient safety, let us remind ourselves why we are here. For too long the mindset has been that patient harm is inevitable, about which nothing can be done. But keeping patients safe is a fundamental part of care. This is a call to action on many fronts and for many actors. As we embark on the next decade and a half,
we must focus on the following:

  • A system-based approach. Expanding research and implementation efforts to all settings of care and the transitions between them; engaging all levels of political and health systems to take
    coordinated action.
  • International collaborations. Building systems of accountability so that patients in all health systems are able to access safe, effective, timely, efficient and equitable care; diffusing learning to the four
    corners of a global network.

It is time. Let us reflect on our collective insights from the past 15 years and let us charge forth wiser, committed and readied to shape truly safer systems in the journey to 2030.

Yours sincerely,

Ara Darzi
Professor the Lord Darzi of Denham