Italy recognises patient safety as a fundamental rightBMJ 2017; 357 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j2277 (Published 22 May 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;357:j2277
- Tommaso Bellandi, deputy director1,
- Riccardo Tartaglia, director1,
- Aziz Sheikh, professor of primary care research and development, co-director2,
- Liam Donaldson, professor of public health3
- 1Centre for Clinical Risk Management and Patient Safety, Florence, Italy
- 2Centre of Medical Informatics, Usher Institute of Population Health and Informatics, University of Edinburgh, UK
- 3London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
On 8 March 2017 Italy enacted a new law on patient safety and health professionals’ responsibilities.1 It begins by recognising that “Patient safety is a fundamental right of each individual within any healthcare service and it is a primary goal of the national healthcare service.” This is a bold step, by a G8 country, towards the goal of reducing avoidable harm in healthcare.
National and regional patient safety programmes started in Italy around a decade ago. The first step towards the new law was an agreement between the national government and the regions in 2008, which required the establishment of a patient safety incident reporting system in each hospital; a local and regional clinical risk management function; and the creation of a national repository of safety practices. The second step, a year later, was the introduction of mandatory monitoring of sentinel events and claims, a key component of the legislation.
An assessment of the economic burden of unsafe care was another driver of the …