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Patient involvement a weak area in patient safety

EPF participated in the first 2013 meeting of the Patient Safety and Quality of Care Working Group (PSQC WG) on 8 March. The agenda concentrated on defining a work plan for the group for the next two years.  The focus was on the European Commission’s report on the implementation of the Council recommendation of 2009 and input of group members following the last meeting in 2012.

EPF presented the first results of our ongoing survey on the Council Recommendation addressed to our members and patient organisations at large. The objective was to evaluate to what extent the Recommendation has been implemented in terms of its provisions for information and empowerment for patients and citizens.

It emerges that 42% of respondents (EPF members and patient organisations) are unaware of the patient safety recommendation, while a similar percentage had some role in developing patient safety information or participating in consultations. Patient involvement overall is judged by patient organisations as being poorly implemented.

65% of respondents recommend involving more patients and citizens in promoting patient safety. Patients’ organisations are considered an important source of capacity-building for patients on patient safety: EPF is by far the most common source of information (80%), followed by patient organisations at national level (13%).

The Commission’s own progress report identified gaps in implementation in Member States. Two areas were selected by the PSQC WG for its future work programme: reporting and learning systems, and the education and training of health workers. Work in the first area will focus on systems interoperability to encourage patients and their families as well as health workers to report and to learn from it. The second working area will look at promoting patient safety modules at all levels of education and training of various professionals.

Two sub-working groups will be formed to work on these topics. EPF has expressed its interest in participating in both. We will aim to contribute particularly on the role of patients and families in reporting and learning systems, and the use of patient experience, such as patient stories, as valuable learning tools to develop health professionals’ patient safety knowledge and skills.

Please follow this link to take part in the survey and do not hesitate to contact our Project Officer Cristina Padeanu for more information.

For more information, please contact our Senior Policy Adviser Kaisa Immonen-Charalambous.