I would like to invite you to our Annual Open Meeting which will be held in the beautiful Greek city of Thessaloniki. In the latest years, the annual open meetings that are organised by EQuiP and the host local organiser (usually the national representatives of EQuiP member countries in EQuiP Assembly) have become a meeting point of the international experts on primary care quality and patient safety. These meetings also support the efforts of the country that they are held in for better quality and safety in primary health care, from the professional, organisational, and political view.
Greece has recently made a great step towards a stronger primary health care with a health care reform introducing the general practitioners as gate-keepers and thus assigning them a central role in the health care system. They have also established the primary health care educational centres where a future general practitioner would be educated, and a new curriculum for the general practice training which is in line with the European requirements. So, organising an international conference on quality and patient safety in primary health care is a logical step forward.
The organisers have chosen a very interesting and current topic: Healthy practices, healthy professionals, healthier patients. The professional health has been an important topic for EQuiP for many years. No physician can provide quality and safe services if not healthy. In today’s world, medicine has become a productivity-oriented profession and empathy, time, communication, holistic care, and person-oriented management have become less important in the eyes of decision makers. But without these important features of general practice/family medicine, the general practitioners are less satisfied with their work and hence could become less healthy. This could lead to worsening of the care quality and patient safety.
A lot has also been discussed in the recent years about the safety culture. It describes leader and staff interactions, attitudes, routines, awareness, and practices within an organisation. If high, it essentially marks a healthy working environment which is directly associated with lower number of safety incidents and near misses.
Both healthy practices and healthy professionals are necessary for a high level of quality and safety in primary health care. And this Annual EQuiP Open meeting will be about all three aspects.
I think that the topic is broader enough but yet specific enough to enable fruitful discussions, high quality contributions, and meaningful conclusions.
I invite you to come and share your opinions and experiences with your colleagues from around the Europe.
I am really looking forward to meeting you in Thessaloniki!
Prof. Zalika Klemenc Ketiš