Patient safety

Healthcare associated infections

Healthcare associated infections are infections a patient can catch when receiving healthcare and/or during a stay in a healthcare institution (e.g. day care, hospital care, long-term care). In hospitals, these infections are referred to as 'hospital infections' and they affect an estimated 4.1 million patients in the EU annually and cause considerable increases in illness, mortality and costs. They are often difficult to treat because the microorganisms that cause them are resistant to antibiotics.

Furthermore, with people's increasing mobility within and between healthcare systems and the freedom in the EU to seek medical treatment outside your country of residence, resistant micro-organisms can spread rapidly between countries.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) is constantly monitoring the evolution of healthcare-associated infections in Europe.

EU action on healthcare associated infections

Urged member governments to introduce or reinforce prevention measures, surveillance, training for healthcare workers and information for patients, and support research.

Highlighted that not only emergence, but also spread is an important driver in the problem of antimicrobial resistance.