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Patient Safety in Practice – HOPE-NVZ/NFU conferenceFrom 10 to 12 June 2013, HOPE held its Agora in The Hague, the Netherlands, concluding the 32nd HOPE Exchange Programme.

Patient Safety in Practice – HOPE-NVZ/NFU conferenceFrom 10 to 12 June 2013, HOPE held its Agora in The Hague, the Netherlands, concluding the 32nd HOPE Exchange Programme.

“Patient safety in practice. How to manage risks to patient safety and quality in European healthcare” was the topic of HOPE Exchange Programme 2013, a 4-week training period intended for hospital and healthcare professionals with managerial responsibilities.

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Organised by the Dutch Hospitals Association (NVZ) and the Dutch Federation of University Medical Centres (NFU) in collaboration with HOPE, the evaluation programme was preceded by a conference on this theme. The event was attended by 350 participants. The morning plenary provided an overview on cultural aspects that influence patient safety in hospitals and how managers can deal with this effectively. After an introduction and welcome by Ferry Breedveld (NFU), the session opened with a keynote speech from Leon van Halder (Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports) who highlighted several Dutch initiatives and policies to promote patient safety and cultural aspects that determined them.

Niek Klazinga (Head of the Health Care Quality Indicators (HCQI) Project at the OECD) illustrated the results of the EU-funded research project DUQuE, which assessed the relationship of various quality improvement governance approaches with quality indicators of hospital care. Wim van Harten (NKI-NVL) presented VMS, the Dutch programme for safety management in healthcare and Erik Heineman (Groningen University) focused on the viewpoint of the medical specialist, highlighting cultural differences influencing their work in hospitals.

Finally, Diana Delnoij (Tilburg University) talked about patient participation in safety management, providing an insight into patients’ experiences and explaining how patients can be involved so to enable their active participation to their safety. Concluding this session, Yvonne van Rooy (NVZ) further stressed that improving patient safety represents today an important priority. Stimulate mutual learning and exchange of experiences is fundamental since safety is the result of the close cooperation among many different professionals.

In the afternoon, several workshops were organised allowing attendants to share their views and experiences in a more interactive way. During the workshops, experts presented good practices from different European countries on seven themes (medication safety, reporting incidents, communication gaps, patient participation, infection prevention, safety in the operating theatre and working in teams).

The conference ended with an interview of Pascal Garel (HOPE Chief Executive) and Jean Bacou (Coordinator of PaSQ Join Action) who highlighted the close connection existing between HOPE Exchange Programme and PaSQ Joint Action, both aiming at promoting and enabling knowledge and good practices exchange. It was also stressed how flexibility and a bottom up approach are the way forward in order to take into account the different national contexts and realities existing in Europe.

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