Tokyo Declaration on Patient Safety

Declaration put forward by Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and endorsed by (Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Indonesia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mongolia, Oman, Poland, Qatar, South Africa, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Vietnam, Asian Development Bank Institute, Japan International Cooperation Agency, World Bank Group, World Health Organization, Patient Safety Movement Foundation, and World Medical Association)

The Tokyo Declaration on Patient Safety is founded on the policies articulated in World Health Assembly resolution WHA55.18 (2002), which urged Member States to “pay the closest possible attention to the problem of patient safety and establish and strengthen science-based systems, necessary for improving patient safety and the quality of health care”.

About 500 participants representing high-level government delegations from ministries of health, from 44 countries across the world and key international organizations, met on 13-14 April 2018 in Tokyo, Japan, as participants in the Global Ministerial Summit on Patient Safety 2018, organized by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Japan with technical support from Germany, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and World Health Organization. The Summit series was founded by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Federal Republic of Germany.

We welcome the vision and leadership of countries in building political sponsorship and momentum at the highest levels of government to address patient safety challenges globally as well as locally. We reaffirm our commitment to improving patient safety in order to reduce all avoidable harm and the risk of harm to all patients and people during their interaction with health care systems, whoever they are, wherever they live, by 2030, and endorse the following Tokyo Declaration, while:

  • Recognizing that unsafe health care and avoidable patient harm represent a serious challenge to health care service delivery globally, including the significant level of preventable human suffering, the considerable strain on health system finances and the loss of trust in health systems and in governments;

  • Recognizing the need to promote and implement patient safety as a fundamental requirement of all service delivery systems, at all levels of health care and in all health care settings;

  • Recognizing that patient safety is one of the most important components of health care delivery which is essential to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC), and moving towards UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); and that patient safety systems and practices need to be established in all countries as one of the critical health care standards for achieving UHC on a sustainable basis;

  • Recognizing that patient safety is one of the most important components of health care delivery which   is   essential to  achieve   Universal Health   Coverage   (UHC),  and   moving   towards   UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); and that patient safety systems and practices need to be established in all countries as one of the critical health care standards for achieving UHC on a sustainable basis;

  • Noting the patient safety needs globally in acute care, ambulatory care including primary care, and community and home-based comprehensive care, with an integrated and people-centered approach for a successful health care system;

  • Recognizing the vulnerability of elderly people to adverse events and the special needs of an ageing society in ensuring patient safety at all levels of health and social care;

    Noting the role that information and communication technology plays, from data collection and surveillance to monitoring and notification, anticipating risks, improved service delivery and improved safety and quality;

  • Acknowledging that though health care systems differ from country to country, many threats to patient safety have similar causes and often similar solutions; thus signifying the need for cooperation among countries and institutions for sharing of information and learning from patient safety incidents and implementation of safe practices;

  • Underscoring the importance of robust patient safety measurement systems, at all levels of health care including primary care;

  • Emphasizing the importance of education, transparency and continuing training and learning of health care professionals to develop a competent and compassionate health workforce to deliver safe care – health workforce need the appropriate labour environment to help make health care safe;

  • Recognizing the role of engaging and empowering patients and families in the delivery of safe and quality care and in all aspects in health care - policy development, organizational level, decision making, health literacy and self-care.

As we are concerned that progress towards ensuring patient safety is too slow, despite the efforts made in each country, we call for greater commitment to accelerate progress towards improving patient safety globally.

We declare that we will:

  • Affirm our strong commitment to maintain a high level of political momentum on “Global action on Patient Safety” in countries across the world, and to work closely with countries across the world, including low- and middle income countries, in order to strengthen capability through collaboration and learning; and to prioritize patient safety in health sector policies and programmes while advancing efforts towards UHC;

  • Pledge to support and enable health care institutions, both public and private, from the level of primary care through to referral level care, to implement changes in systems and practices to improve patient safety, while contributing to achieving UHC and SDGs;

  • Commit to building capacity in leadership and management to support patient-centered care, implement and strengthen patient safety systems and processes, create a culture of safety and transparency, align incentives, educate and train the health workforce in patient safety, engage patients and families, increase efficiency and minimize harm by sharing knowledge on risks, best practices and successful models;

  • Work collaboratively with patients and families who have been affected by harm, international organizations and other key stakeholders to increase visibility and work towards global action on patient safety, including the establishment of an annual World Patient Safety Day, to be celebrated on 17 September each year.