World Patient Safety Day - September 17
(Last Updated On: November 8, 2022)


Every year on September 17th, World Patient Safety Day raises global awareness and spurs global solidarity about the safety of patients. The day also encourages countries around the world to recognize patient safety as a global health priority.

When a health care provider is looking after you, you might assume you are safe from harm. But, unfortunately, this is not always the case. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), patient safety is a major health concern across the globe. In fact, one in 300 patients is harmed while receiving health care. Additionally, patient harm is the 14th leading cause of global disease burden.

Millions of adverse events occur each year during hospitalizations. Adverse events that result in unsafe care are more prevalent in low to middle-income countries. Over 2 million people die each year as a result of unsafe care. In most cases, an incorrect or delayed diagnosis causes patient harm. Medication errors are another leading cause of patient harm. Surgical errors are also common. According to WHO, more than one million patients die each year during or immediately after surgery.

Health care workers can improve the safety of their patients in several ways. Some of the ways to do this include:

  • Giving patients access to their medical records and clinician notes.
  • Keeping patient areas clean.
  • Enforcing quiet hours and being attentive to lighting to ensure patients get rest.
  • Staying attentive to procedure protocols.
  • Providing simple appointment scheduling.

Another way to increase patient safety is to ensure patients or their caregivers are directly involved in their health care. It’s also important for patients to have a clear understanding of their diagnosis and treatment options. For this to happen, patients always are encouraged to ask questions.

HOW TO OBSERVE #WorldPatientSafetyDay

Patients, families, caregivers, health care leaders, and policymakers host various events on this day to show their commitment to patient safety. Also, on this day, cities worldwide are encouraged to light up local monuments with the color orange. The lighting of monuments is a gesture of respect and gratitude to health care workers.
You can participate by spreading awareness for this important day on social media with #WorldPatientSafetyDay.


The German Coalition for Patient Safety had been working toward developing the platform for a World Patient Safety Day since 2015. The Swiss Foundation for Patient Safety and the Austrian Platform for Patient Safety joined to make it an international endeavor. In 2019 at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, 194 countries committed to recognizing patient safety as a health priority. As a result, the World Health Assembly declared September 17th as World Patient Safety Day. The World Health Organization was commissioned to organize the annual event.


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