Patient safety


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.

Patient safety package

  • Patient safety package highlights how the Commission and EU countries are addressing the challenge of patient safety. This package contains the Commission’s Second Report on patient safety, including the prevention and control of healthcare associated infections.

Legal tools

EU Patient Safety and Quality of Care Expert Group

The Commission EU Patient Safety and Quality of Care Expert Group brings together representatives from all 28 EU countries, EFTA countries, international organisations and EU bodies. The Group assists in developing the EU patient safety and quality agenda.