An estimated 8 - 12% of patients admitted to hospital in the EU suffer from adverse events whilst receiving healthcare, for example:

  • healthcare-associated infections (Accounting for approximately 25% of adverse events)
  • medication-related errors
  • surgical errors
  • medical device failures
  • errors in diagnosis
  • failure to act on the results of tests.

Much of the harm to patients is preventable, but the implementation of strategies to reduce harm varies widely across the EU.

By Treaty, the EU is expected to help its member countries coordinate their efforts to protect public health. The Commission is well placed to help them share best practice and has taken a number of steps to improve patient safety in Europe.