Healthcare workers face a number of serious health and safety hazards, and more workers are injured in the healthcare
and social assistance industry sector than any other. (OSHA 2010)
Thus, Occupational Health issues relating to the personal safety and workplace environment is a very important concern for hospitals and other health care facilities.
The World Health Assembly endorsed, in 2007, the World Health Organization's global plan of action for workers' health which addressed concern for the gaps between countries in the exposure of workers to occupational hazards and in their access to occupational health services.
The first objective of this Global Plan, is “To devise and implement policies on workers’ health’.( WHO 2008)
Occupational and environmental health standards for healthcare facilities are statements that define the key functions, activities, processes and structures and systems required for organizations to be in a position to provide quality services and as they are determined by professional and regulatory bodies.
The interest in quality and safety in the health care sector has rapidly risen over the past decade.
Safety and quality are closely intertwined, as optimal patient safety can only be achieved with high quality of care throughout the complete patient journey.( De Jonge 2011)
Maintaining a safe environment reflects a level of compassion and vigilance for patient welfare that is as important as any other aspect of competent health care.
Evidence is accumulating that links work environments to behavior, attitudes, and motivations among clinicians. These behaviors and orientations can, in turn, affect quality processes and outcomes.
Improving the organizational climate is likely to improve patient safety and decrease overall health care costs. (Stone PW 2008)
As medical science and technology has advanced at a rapid pace, the healthcare delivery system has fl oundered in its ability to provide consistently High quality care to all.
By adopting and implementing the GCC standard, there is opportunity to improve the quality and performance of the health-care faculties, as well as growing awareness between healthcare providers on the significance of quality assurance. (Bengoa 2006)
Measurement is central to the concept of hospital quality improvement; it provides a means to define what hospitals actually do, and to compare that with the original targets in order to identify opportunities for improvement. The principal methods of measuring hospital performance are regulatory inspection, public satisfaction surveys.
Standardized surveys measure specific domains of patient experience and satisfaction. There are also standardized surveys that reliably measure hospital performance against explicit standards at a national level. (WHO 2003)
The GCC Initiative
The idea of developing facilities standards specific for GCC countries evolved in 2011 during the fourth Gulf of Conference of Occupational Health, when the GCC representatives adopted the Kuwait Initiative for Promotion of Occupational Health in Occupational Health in the GCC States.
This Initiative then signed by different authorities, including the WHO and GCC council of health Ministers. (Al-Haddad 2017)
The GCC standards
The Occupational and environmental health standards are to set of standards divided for hospitals and other health care facilities
developed by the Executive Board of the GCC Health Ministers in collaboration with The Eastern Mediterranean Regional office of the World Health Organization- EMRO , according to the ILO/WHO Joint Global Framework for National Occupational Health Programmes for healthcare workers.
The two sets of GCC standards currently in use are:
GCC Occupational health Accreditation Standards for Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities and GCC Environmental health Accreditation Standards for Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities.
( Aboel-Ata 2012)
The standards have been developed by team of experts to meet specific requirements of clients in the GCC region for both private and public sectors. Standards have been developed, piloted for hospitals, clinics, hospices, sub-acute facilities, rehabilitation centers and GPs.
Implementing the GCC OH standards will help to protect the healthcare workers, furthermore, to meet the requirements for licensing and accreditation of health care facilities.
In addition, two electronic surveys designed based on the GCC standards, the surveys can help in measuring the performance in terms of minimal requirements for safety and environment health within the healthcare facility.
- Aboel-Ata, G. A, B. M. Lotfy, S. A. Arnaout, T. - C. Aw, and R. - M. Locas, Occupational Health and Environmental Health Accreditation Standards for Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities, , Riadh- KSA, Supreme Committee of Health and Safety at GCC, 2012.
- Al-Haddad S, Occupational &Environmental Indicators as Tools for Hospital Accreditation, 5th Gulf Conference of Occupational Health Care & Production May, 2017
- De Jonge V, Sint Nicolaas J, van Leerdam ME, Kuipers EJ, Overview of the quality assurance movement in health care, Best Practice & Research Clinical Gastroenterology, Volume 25, Issue 3, 2011, ISSN 1521-6918, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bpg.2011.05.001.
- OSHA, Safety and Health Topics, Healthcare, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, NW, Washington, DC 20210, Retrieved from: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/healthcarefacilities/index.html
- Bengoa R, Kawar R, Key P, Leatherman S, Massoud R, Saturno P, 2006, Quality assurance, health care; health services administration; decision making. WHO
- Stone PW, Hughes R, Dailey M. Creating a Safe and High-Quality Health Care Environment. In: Hughes RG, editor. Patient Safety and Quality: An Evidence-Based Handbook for Nurses. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); 2008 Apr. Chapter 21.
- World Health Organization, Health Evidence Network, 2003, WHO Regional Office for Europe, Quality improvement; principal methods; regulatory inspection; public satisfaction surveys; third-party assessment; statistical indicators; best evidence; public disclosure of performance data.
- World Health Organization. Workers' health: global plan of action. Sixtieth World Health Assembly, May 23, 2007. Retrieved September 15, 2008.