A2: How action on patient safety can reduce health inequalities

Wednesday 17 May | 11:00-12:15

Format: Presentation
Stream: Population and public health
Content filters: Recommended for those new to quality improvement, Equity

Not all harm from healthcare is experienced equally. Factors such as ethnicity and socioeconomic
background amongst others increase risk of patient safety events. Unlike many of the social determinants of health, differences in patient safety are an under-explored driver of health inequalities for which the health system and its workforce are clearly accountable. We will analyse this complex issue by drawing upon insights from several disciplines, including medicine, policy and academia. We shall examine the discriminatory clinical practices, flawed investigative methods, and systematic patient disempowerment that contribute to these issues. This interactive session will provoke a reimagination of the role that healthcare can play in reducing health inequalities.


After this session, participants will be able to:

  • Appreciate the growing evidence base for unequal experience of harm from healthcare and the underpinning mechanisms of these inequalities

  • Contribute to ideas as to how stakeholders from across the healthcare system can take tangible steps to reduce this unequal risk of harm

  • Offer an exciting and inspiring new lens through which to understand the potential contribution of patient safety to health inequalities and vice-versa


Cian Wade, NHS England, England

Dr Aidan Fowler, NHS England, England