Union holds discussion on workers' efforts to eradicate medical accidents

Hospital and clinic workers are beginning to tackle the prevention of medical accidents, which is a major public concern in Japan.

On January 29 in Tokyo, the Japan Federation of Medical Workers' Unions (Iroren) held a discussion to strengthen workers' initiatives in this effort.

In the keynote speech, Iroren President Tanaka Chieko outlined the Iroren activities that will help improve working conditions, investigate and analyze mishaps in medical practices, avoid malpractices, establish independent watchdogs, and survey medical institutions.

Placing the eradication of medical accidents as its major task, Iroren has proposed that medical workers, patients, families, and local residents work together to maintain safety in hospitals and urge the government or hospital managers to take necessary measures to this effect.

A worker from the Yamagata Prefectural Iroren reported that it has been successful in improving the work environment by conducting a "safety-level check" at 100 hospitals in the prefecture and finding out people's requests and complaints about hospitals.

Ikenaga Mitsuru, lawyer and head of the Patients' Rights Ombudsman, said, "To eradicate medical accidents, it is important to learn lessons from individual accidents or patient complaints in addition to calling for an increase of manpower." (end)

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