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World Patient Safety Day 2021

17 Sept 2021

Today (17 September) marks World Patient Safety Day 2021, with the focus this year on ‘Safe Maternal and Newborn care’.

All women and girls have the right to essential healthcare. Yet, nearly 1,000 women die each day from complications during and after pregnancy.

With international obstetric and gynaecology organisations, we are collectively joining the World Health Organisation’s call to ‘act now for safe and respectful childbirth’.

The RCOG has signed up to a statement on safe maternal and newborn care with more than 40 global obstetric and gynaecology organisations, supporting and committing to the provision of high quality prenatal, perinatal and postpartum care.

We have also worked with the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) to develop of a Childbirth Bill of Rights. The document calls for all countries to provide safe, inclusive, accessible, affordable and respectful maternal care.

Today we have written to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, asking that the UK becomes the first country to sign up to the Bill of Rights. Over the next few months we will work with our partners at FIGO and ACOG to attract further signatories from governments and health ministries across the world.


Dr Edward Morris, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said:

 “We welcome this joint statement and Bill of Rights as two incredibly important documents in advocating for the rights of women and girls globally. Working alongside our global equivalent professional organisations and partners is essential to ensuring that women have access to safe and essential healthcare. We hope to see governments and policymakers adopt the recommendations within the Bill of Rights, prioritising maternal and newborn care.”

Dr Jeanne Conry, FIGO President Elect, said:

“On this World Patient Safety Day, we speak with one voice to call for safe and respectful childbirth. Reducing maternal mortality requires collaboration throughout the medical community and support from government entities and policymakers. FIGO encourages all nations, leaders, colleagues and partners to apply to maternal and newborn care and the crisis of maternal mortality around the world the same focus we have seen during the global pandemic.”


Dr J Martin Tucker, President of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said:

“Maternal care is not just about the care provided during pregnancy itself. It’s about the pre-pregnancy care that allows our patients to be in optimal health prior to conception; it’s about respectful, compassionate, comprehensive prenatal care that is centred on our patients; and it’s about postnatal care that reflects the unique needs of our patients in the postpartum period.”


For media enquiries please contact the RCOG press office on +44 (0)7986 183167 or email 


Notes to the editor

  • Sign FIGO’s statement on safe newborn and maternal care
  • Read the Childbirth: A Bill of Rights and other statements released on World Patient Safety Day on the FIGO website


About the RCOG

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is a medical charity that champions the provision of high quality women’s healthcare in the UK and beyond. It is dedicated to encouraging the study and advancing the science and practice of obstetrics and gynaecology. It does this through postgraduate medical education and training and the publication of clinical guidelines and reports on aspects of the specialty and service provision.

  • Corporate
  • Pregnancy and birth