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article imageRisks from hospital visits rise across Europe

By Tim Sandle     Jun 25, 2014 in Health
The safety of patients receiving healthcare, including the probability of contracting healthcare-associated infections, is a serious concern for the European Union and numbers of cases are rising according to a new report.
The report, "Patient Safety and Quality of Care" indicates that that 8–12 percent of patients admitted to hospital in the European Union (EU) suffer from adverse events, such as healthcare-associated infections; medication-related errors; surgical errors; medical device failures; errors in diagnosis; and failure to act on the results of tests.
Startlingly this means that on any given day one in 18 patients in European hospitals have at least one healthcare-associated infection. Every year an estimated 4.1 million patients acquire a healthcare associated infection in the EU and at least 37,000 die as a result.
These levels of infection, illness and death are a matter of concern for EU policy makers. It also stands that many cases are preventable. The report estimates that up to 30 percent of healthcare-associated infections can be prevented by intensive hygiene and control programs.
According to Marc Sprenger of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control: β€œThe survey confirms that healthcare-associated infections pose a major public health problem and a threat to European patients: ECDC estimates that on any given day, about 80 000 patients, i.e. one in 18 patients, in European hospitals have at least one healthcare-associated infection.”
The report recommends that EU counties do more to protect patients when they visit hospitals. The European Commission states that general patient safety must become a priority in public health policies and that there needs to be a designated a competent authority with responsibility in this area in each country.
The area that needs most attention is with empowering patients. This means providing patients with information about patient safety measures, the right to informed consent, complaint procedures and redress mechanisms.
In order to track progress the European Commission has stated that it will publish a second implementation report later 2014.
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