Universal access to high quality health care is a fundamental right recognised and valued by the European Union. European citizens have a right to expect that every effort is made to ensure their safety as users of health services. The Union has identified the need to establish a culture of patient safety throughout the entire health system. Measures and actions towards this goal are in place at EU level, their objective being to support and coordinate national policies and to guarantee high-quality products, services and management in the field of health care and treatment.
Quality of medical goods, standards for the safety and performance of medical technology, and standard training of health professionals are areas of activity identified to improve quality and prevent adverse events for patients. In the light of this, legislative measures coupled with the setting-up of agencies and working groups (delivering scientifically sound opinions) are the backbone of the EU’s activities in this field. Moreover, by creating networks and information systems the Community intends to focus on exchange of experience and best practice between national authorities and stakeholders in an effort to generate a culture of continuous learning and improvement.
The Health Technology Assessment Network has been established to systematically assist policy-makers and ensure coordination of activities on clinical effectiveness, quality and other features of health technologies, such as pharmaceuticals, medical devices and surgical operations.