News, /

16 November 2012 – Health First Europe welcomes the European Commission report published today outlining the progress achieved by Member States since the adoption of the Council Recommendations on patient safety in 2009.  While encouraged by the outcomes of the report, Health First Europe believes that further steps are needed to ensure that patient safety is a priority for all healthcare institutions with clear standards in place as well as reduction targets for healthcare associated infections (HCAIs).

The Commission’s report identifies the number of Member States which have implemented the 13 actions adopted by the Council in 2009 and finds that all Member States have developed specific policies on patient safety.   However, clear gaps still exist among Member States regarding issues such as standards for patient safety, training of healthcare professionals and education of patients about safety within healthcare settings.  Additionally, though most Member States have surveillance networks for healthcare associated infections, not all infections are monitored and the systems in place are not comparable, which continues to prevent a clear understanding of the prevalence of healthcare associated infection across Europe.

Health First Europe launched its recommendations for strengthening patient safety in Member States in April 2012 which called for minimum standards for patient safety at EU level, including harmonised reporting systems, setting measurable improvements targets for patient safety determined by each Member State and monitored by the EU, and development of a European strategy to prevent HCAI.

In response to the Commission’s report, Honorary President John Bowis said:

We very much welcome the Commission’s future focus on proposing guidelines for introducing patient safety standards, common terminology on patient safety and research on the cost-effectiveness of patient safety strategies.  It is imperative for patients, however, that Member States are encouraged to set reduction targets for healthcare associated infections to facilitate improved surveillance and reporting. For patients to be involved in the safety of their care, they need to be aware of the way risks are managed as well as the real versus perceived possibility for adverse events in a healthcare setting.

Health First Europe will be discussing this report in depth as well as the next steps for patient safety at its upcoming event in the European Parliament entitled Advancing Patient Safety in the EU: Reducing healthcare associated infections. Expert panelists include the European Commission, World Health Organization, German Coalition for Patient Safety, European Parliament, German Society for Hospital Hygiene, and the International Society for Quality in Healthcare.

To read the European Commission’s report, click here.

To read Health First Europe’s recommendations on patient safety, click here.

To read the outcome report of Health First Europe’s launch event in April, click here.