• Former health secretary made patient safety a priority during his tenure
  • Attending summit alongside health ministers from more than 50 countries
  • Globally, there is a one in 300 chance of being harmed while accessing healthcare

Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt is leading a call for global action on patient safety at an international summit in the Middle East today.

The former health secretary, who made patient safety a priority during his tenure at the Department of Health and Social Care, will use a speech at the fourth global summit on patient safety to push for a resolution to be passed to establish a world patient safety day to be held every year on 17 September.

Mr Hunt will be attending the summit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia today along with health ministers from more than 50 countries.

Mr Hunt told HSJ: “I always said my commitment to patient safety would outlive my time as health secretary – no one who spent time with the Mid Staffs and Morecambe Bay families could feel any different.

“Matt Hancock, who has already done some brilliant initiatives on maternity safety, has asked me to lead the charge for patient safety internationally as foreign secretary.

“In Jeddah on Saturday I will be calling for an annual world patient safety day to highlight how many lives are still being lost worldwide through poor culture and lack of best practice.

“WHO director general Dr Tedros has been very supportive and we now need the motion to pass at the World Health Assembly in May. I hope that the UK, which now leads the way in patient safety initiatives, can play a big part in making this happen.”

Globally, there is a one in 300 chance of being harmed while accessing healthcare, with one in 10 patients in high-income countries, like the UK, being harmed. This rises to one in four in low-income countries.