Patient safety and quality of care in EU public health systems

The European Union (EU) has a responsibility to ensure a high level of human health in all its policies and activities. It is expected to help national authorities, which are responsible for the organisation and delivery of health services and medical care, coordinate their efforts to protect public health.


Council conclusions on patient safety and quality of care, including the prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections and antimicrobial resistance (2014/C 438/05) (Official Journal C 438 of 6.12.2014, pp. 7-11)



They invite EU countries’ national authorities to:

National authorities and the Commission together should, among other things:

In addition, a patient safety package highlights how national authorities and the Commission are addressing patient safety. Input into the various policies also comes from the patient safety and quality of care working group.


Some 3.2 million patients every year in the EU suffer some form of adverse reaction when receiving medical treatment. These can come from healthcare infections, medical or surgical errors, failure of medical devices or wrong diagnoses. It is estimated that 20 % to 30 % of these are preventable.

For more information, see patient safety on the European Commission’s website.

last update 06.08.2015