Islamabad-Minister for National Health Services (NHS) Saira Afzal Tarar said on Tuesday said that the government has taken serious measures for the health safety of people by strengthening the regularity bodies to ensure safe health practices.

The minister was addressing the International Conference on Patient Safety organised by the Air University on Tuesday.

She said that the government empowered the project of safe blood transfusion, DRAP, launched Prime Minister’s National Health Programme and introduced reforms in PMDC,” she said.

The minister also stated that regulatory bodies not only carry out inspections but also provide the practical guidelines for ensuring safe health practices. “Access to quality healthcare is a key pillar of our development agenda,” she said.

Saira Afzal said that nursing sector also received attention from government as part of the agenda to improve patient care and safety. 

“The Pakistan Nursing Council has been revamped and for the first time, a Ph.D nurse has been appointed as President of Pakistan Nursing Council,” she said. 

Online Registration System for nurses has been launched for the first time in the country’s history. Entire back Log of old registration cases has been completely eliminated and registration cards are now being issued the same day under the urgent category and in two weeks under the routine category. 

Medical institutions, therefore, must work together to upgrade the skill-sets and for their environment to be more open to invoking latest techniques and interventions and laying emphasis on research.

NHS fully supports this conference with the expectation and hope that it will contribute to improved patient-care in the country, said minister.

Government’s policies are focused on creating a healthcare environment which is focused on delivering high value for the patients in Pakistan.

Hospitals should have dedicated and trained professionals responsible for quality and patient safety.

Hospitals should also have systems in place to document medical errors through an adverse event reporting mechanism.

The minister appreciated the initiative of promoting quality and safety in country by inviting international speakers and gathering key stakeholders in healthcare to discuss patient safety issues and relevant solutions.

“International speakers to our country and hope that they will help and guide us in developing patient centric healthcare system in Pakistan,” she said. This international conference and workshop on patient safety and related issues comes at a time when this problem is also being reviewed and discussed in our national and provincial assemblies.

 The issues of health are complex and need multi-disciplinary approach and team work to formulate policies that plug in the various loop holes that affect patient care and safety matters.