Quality of Care is at the Top of WHO/Europe and Greece’s Health Priorities

Quality of service and patient safety should be at the forefront of governments’ health policy objectives if they are to support patients and their health requirements. On 2–3 December 2021, WHO/Europe organized a high-level meeting in Athens, Greece, with this as the main message. 

The first-ever “Meeting of Minds on Quality of Care,” hosted by the newly founded WHO Athens Quality of Care Office in collaboration with the Greek government, brought together ministers, experts, policymakers, health professionals, and civil society organizations. 

The two-day conference marked the start of the development of a new set of instruments that nations in the WHO European Region would employ to construct high-quality health services during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Greek Minister of Health Thanos Plevris announced two new collaboration agreements with WHO/Europe, which will commence in March 2022, in order to expedite progress on the quality of care agenda. The new programs will support the quality of services in Greece as well as the quality of mental health services for children and adolescents throughout the WHO European Region. 

Dr. Mina Gaga, the Greek Alternate Minister of Health, and Deputy Minister of Health Zoe Rapti were also in attendance. Ms. Rapti, who is in charge of mental health, focused her opening remarks on the need to improve the quality of mental health care for children and adolescents, who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. 

One of the conference’s main themes was that by investing in high-quality health care, countries are ultimately investing in the well-being of the entire society. Investing in one’s health and well-being is a key driver of economic development, human reform, and social equity. 

Achieving universal health coverage requires a life-course approach that promotes healthy aging and high-quality services at all stages of life, as well as an emphasis on quality of treatment and patient safety at all levels of health systems. 

The two-day conference, which was held as a hybrid event with attendees in the room and online, provided a chance for practitioners and policymakers to share their knowledge and help shape the future of healthcare quality. 

Work on a “Compendium of applied good practices on quality of care,” which will be released in 2022, will begin during the event. The compendium will encourage innovation and guide action in the provision of health services, as well as raise awareness and promote improvements in care quality and patient safety throughout the WHO European Region. 

The newly established WHO Athens Quality of Care Office will lead this effort in partnership with governments and partners across the European Region, inspired by WHO’s European Programme of Work, 2020–2025 – “United Action for Better Health in Europe.”