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EU policymakers should strengthen the standards for patient safety in Member State healthcare systems, adopt measurable improvement targets for Member States on patient safety, and develop a European strategy to combat the incidence of healthcare associated infections, according to Health First Europe’s Recommendations on Patient Safety launched today. The publication provides concrete, targeted and researched proposals for Member States reflecting the areas of patient safety outlined by the Council in 2009.

Highlighting key issues such as the need for internationally harmonised data on adverse events and healthcare associated infections and public reporting on the state of patient safety within healthcare organisations, HFE’s recommendations focus on areas where further action is necessary three years after the adoption of the Council Recommendations on patient safety including the prevention and control of healthcare associated infections (2009). HFE’s recommendations target areas where the EU can provide added value and advise Member States with regards to how to improve patient safety in their healthcare systems.

Under the Patronage of MEP Christofer Fjellner, (EPP, Sweden), Health First Europe’s Task Force on Patient Safety produced the recommendations alongside the ongoing review by the European Commission of the Member States’ implementation of the Council Recommendations on patient safety including the prevention and control of healthcare associated infections (2009). Comprised of representatives from patient groups, healthcare professionals, hospitals, academics and industry, the recommendations of the Task Force take account of the various constituencies involved in protecting the safety of patients in healthcare settings.

MEP Fjellner expressed the importance of HFE’s work stating:

Health First Europe’s recommendations promote specific proposals where the EU can and should play a role in enhancing patient safety in healthcare systems throughout Europe.  The safety of patients is the most crucial element of quality of care and Member States must be supported to prioritise patient safety in healthcare policy.”

Health First Europe Honorary President and Chair of the Task Force John Bowis added:

Direct and consistent emphasis must be placed on patient safety in healthcare settings throughout the EU. HFE’s recommendations for EU policymakers to create EU minimum standards, measurable improvement targets for Member States and an EU HCAI strategy, support the objective of all policymakers in health: to protect patients.”

Health First Europe’s recommendations on both general patient safety and healthcare-associated infections will be debated by policymakers from the European Commission, European Parliament, Council and European Centre for Disease Control during the Health First Europe Open Forum Debate: Road Map for the Future of Patient Safety on 24 April 2012 in the European Parliament.

Click here to read Health First Europe’s Recommendations on Patient Safety and Healthcare Associated Infections.

Participants in the HFE Task Force on patient safety include: International Association of Patients Organisations (IAPO); European Health Telematics Association (EHTEL); European Medical Association (EMA); European Union of Private Hospitals (UEHP); International Diabetes Federation Europe (IDF- Europe); European Federation of Public Service Employees Union (Eurofedop); Medical Technology Group; EUCOMED.