IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 25th Sep 2020

Someone else’s success does not equal a failure for you.– Joe Rogan

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Editorial Hunt is an initiative to dilute major Editorials of leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Here we choose two editorials on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC MAINS 2020.

EDITORIAL HUNT #156 :“World Patient Safety Day Analysis | UPSC

World Patient Safety Day Analysis | UPSCWorld Patient Safety Day Analysis | UPSC

Dr. Harikeerthan Raghuram | Dr. Anant Bhan
World Patient Safety Day Analysis | UPSC

Dr. Harikeerthan Raghuram is a public health researcher and consultant. Dr. Anant Bhan is a researcher in global health, bioethics and health policy


Health worker safety deserves a second look


The key is to adopt a systems approach and lay emphasis on a culture of health worker well-being

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3 : Health : UN Observances


In the view of World Patient Safety day , Elucidate how is Patient Safety is important for Health worker Safety and vice versa. -(GS 3)


  • World Patient Safety Day
  • COVID-19 and Patients reporting cases
  • Case Study : Overcrowding


  • HEALTH CARE : Health facilities are a place of healing and restoration.

CAUTION : The world over, one in 10 patients experiences or is subject to harm in health-care settings.

  • CARELESSNESS : These range from operations done on the wrong patient, to injections being administered in an unsafe manner.
  • LIFE THREATENING INJECTIONS : Studies in India have shown that more than two-thirds of injections are given in an unsafe manner.
  • NEEDLESS MEDICATION : Equally worrying is the fact that over two-thirds of injections in primary care are unnecessary in the first place.



  • OBSERVANCES : To highlight this important issue, the World Health Organization observes World Patient Safety Day every year (September 17).

2020 THEME : The theme for 2020 was ‘Health Worker Safety: A Priority for Patient Safety’ with a call to action to ‘Speak up for health worker safety!’

  • HEALTH CARE SETTINGS : Much harm done to patients in health-care settings is because of unsafe health-care practice and unsafe health-care communication.
  • FAULT LINES : Unsafe health-care practice refers to unsafe or unnecessary procedures, wrong medications, medications given in a wrong dosage, etc.
  • MISCOMMUNICATIONS : Unsafe health-care communication refers to mistakes made in health-care settings due to miscommunication between health professionals.

During patient handover in between staff shifts.

  • QUALITY PRACTISES : The quality of both practice and communication is dependent on the safety and well-being of health workers.


  • MENTAL STRESS : In COVID-19 crisis, health workers are not only putting in longer hours but also working under increasingly difficult circumstances, which affect both their physical and mental health.
  • WORKSPACE CULTURE : The mental health of health workers is linked to the workplace culture.
  • STAFF SUPPORT : Some organisations have a culture of supporting staff, responding to their needs and encouraging learning from mistakes; while others have a culture of fault-finding, blame, guilt and abuse.

REPORTING : When instances of patient harm occur, whether people feel encouraged to report them, depends on the organisation’s culture and leadership.

  • HIERARCHIES BETWEEN SPECIALTIES : In India, it is not uncommon to find health-care organisations observe strict hierarchies between specialties, between designations etc.
  • POWERFUL DIFFERENCES : Such power differences can increase chances of abuse: verbal, physical, emotional and sexual, putting the safety of health workers and patients at risk.


  • INSTITUTIONAL LEARNING : Organisational learning is more important than individual learning.
  • REASON : This is because instances of patient harm, even when they occur at the individual level, are often an end result of a chain of organisational failures.


  • Systemic under staffing
  • Lack of reporting mechanisms
  • Lack of dedicated time for hand overs
  • Audits
  • Training and team building
  • Poorly maintained equipment and corruption in purchases.



In many hospitals, quality of care is often compromised because of overcrowding, such as in the emergency department.


To take a systems approach in this situation would mean looking at it holistically .

  1. THE INPUT : Looking at whether patients who come to the emergency department need to be there in the first place or could be managed somewhere else such as in the community itself.
  2. THE THROUGHPUT : Looking at whether there are inefficiencies such as shortage of doctors, nurses, equipment or space that is increasing the time taken for patients to be treated.
  3. THE OUTPUT : Looking at whether the patients are staying longer in the emergency department than required because of lack of non-emergency department inpatient beds, delays at the pharmacy or delays in transportation of patients out of the emergency department.


  • EFFORTS IN PANDEMIC : Many health workers have demonstrated excellence despite the limitations in the Indian health system. This is laudable but may not be sustainable.
  • SUSTAINABLE APPROACH : Creating sustainability would ensure both of health care and of supportive social care are well functioning.
  • UNDERSTAFFING : Many health workers are overworked not by choice, but rather the lack of it since understaffing and shortages are a common feature of the Indian public health-care system.

      IASbhai Windup: 


  • RESPONSIBLE STAKEHOLDERS : Finally, a systems approach involves all stakeholders.
  • AWARENESS : Patients themselves need to be aware of patient safety as well as be empowered to demand safe health care and resist unnecessary medications and procedures.
  • HOSPITAL MANAGEMENT : Hospital managers must understand the need for and be empowered to create systems of reporting, monitoring and organisational learning.

POLICY DESIGN : Policy makers must prioritise staffing, co-designing functional and safe workplaces, and ethics in health care.

  • QUALITY OF HEALTHCARE : Numerous persons find healing and restoration in health care. But some are harmed as well. In crises such as COVID-19, quality of care can be compromised further.
  • LET US PROMOTE : We can help improve patient safety by taking a systems approach and promoting a culture of health worker safety and well-being.

Good systems can mitigate the effects of individual mistakes.

       SOURCES:   THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | World Patient Safety Day Analysis | UPSC


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