Issue: May 2015
May 01, 2015
2 min read

EU Corner: European Parliament to vote for safer health care in Europe

Issue: May 2015
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Health care is at the core of every citizens’ concern and a 2014 EU survey reveals 53% of EU citizens believe they could be harmed by hospital care.

Despite laudable efforts of Member States to implement the 2009 Council Recommendations setting out actions for Member State to adopt national plans on patient safety and health care associated infections, much remains to be done. In particular, and according to the European Commission (EC), the barriers to real change lie in the economic crisis, a lack of political will, a dominating blame culture, a lack of right technologies, a fragmentation of provisions and organizations and a lack of patient safety culture.

It is in this context that the European Parliament voted on and approved an own-initiative report on Safer Healthcare in Europe: improving patient safety and fighting antimicrobial resistance on 15 April. The report calls on Member States and the EU to do more to address patient safety and prevent adverse events including medical errors and health care associated infections (HAI).

EU Corner

The report stresses that austerity measures should not affect health systems and calls for Member States to guarantee staff levels in fighting infections and in hygiene control. The report particularly calls on Member States to ensure appropriate training of health care professionals and to set up monitoring systems to verify that their competencies are up-to-date with hospital hygiene practices and the technology in place. It also recommends Member States adopt a blame free approach in the reporting of adverse event.

The report further stresses the public health threat posed by antimicrobial resistance and calls on Member States to promote the responsible use of antibiotics and to promote awareness campaign to raise the problem.

As for the EC, it should continue to keep a close watch on Member States’ progress and inform the public about all the latest advances in patient safety and the development of new drugs.

The EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis has pledged to make antimicrobial resistance a priority of his 5-year mandate and intends to convene a high level conference on this issue to assess what further actions should be taken post 2016.

It is within this ongoing EU debate that the 16th EFORT Annual Congress is taking place in Prague on 27-29 May, with infections being the overarching theme. With its educational sessions, EFORT will aim to respond to the EU’s objective for safer health care in Europe, by improving education and the prevention and treatment of infections.