Medicines advice | Updates

World Patient Safety Day – Sunday 17th September 2023

World Patient Safety Day this year is focussed on the importance of engaging patients for patient safety. This is in recognition of the essential role that patients, families and caregivers can play by becoming active members of the health care team. When engaged and treated as partners in care, significant gains are made in safety and health outcomes, and there are improvements in patient satisfaction and the functioning of the health care system as a whole.

September 17, 2023

Engaging Patients for Patient Safety

The World Health Organization (WHO) considers parents, families and caregivers to have vital roles in health care. When patients (and families) are actively involved in care, patients have better outcomes, safety is improved (e.g. by taking medicines correctly) and patients are more satisfied with their treatment. The WHO wants patients to be involved in all aspects of care, from how care is planned and organized, to being involved in their own care. You can read more about World Patient Safety Day and the WHO’s campaign to elevate the voice of patients here.

Talking about medicines with healthcare professionals

Medicines are a vital part of everyday health care, but it is important that they are taken correctly – so that they work as they should and that they don’t cause unwanted problems. For many medicines, the risk of harm is low, but we still need to take care when using medicines.

When a child receives a new diagnosis or a new treatment, there can be a lot to take in. It is easy to think that healthcare professionals are too busy to ask questions. However, they would much rather that you ask questions and understand how to give a medicine properly, because that will make sure that the medicine works correctly and is used safely.

Medicines for Children has created a help sheet to support parents and carers to have meaningful conversations with healthcare professionals about their children’s medicines, available to read and download here.

Reporting side effects of medicines

We give our children medicines to help them get well and stay well, but sometimes these medicines have unwanted effects – side effects. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is responsible for the safety of medicines in the UK. Parents and carers can report any suspected side effects of medicines to the MHRA via their Yellow Card scheme. This is important so that the MHRA understands as much as possible about the safety of medicines. Although safety warnings about medicines are rare, the scheme ensures that any issues are identified and action is taken as soon as possible. You can read more about the scheme and why it is important to report side effects here.