TOWARDS HIGHER PATIENT SAFETY IN EUROPEAN HOSPITALS. Innovation in hygiene and sanification to reduce healthcare associated infections and antimicrobial resistance

4-5 February 2019

Patient safety is the reduction of risk of unnecessary harm associated with health care to an acceptable minimum. An acceptable minimum refers to the collective notions of current knowledge, resources available and the context in which care was delivered and weighed against the risk of non-treatment or alternative treatment (WHO 2004).

Healthcare Associated Infections (HAI) are a global concern, further threatened by the increasing drug resistance of HAI-associated pathogens.

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control estimates that approximately 4.100.000 patients acquire a healthcare-associated infection in the EU each year. The number of deaths occurring as a direct consequence is estimated to be at least 37.000. Healthcare associated infections account for twice the burden of 31 other infectious diseases.

Unsafe care has not only consequences for patients’ health and EU citizens’ trust in healthcare systems, but also a significant impact in our economy. Patient safety is a milestone of quality and safety within healthcare, the absolute precondition for preventing errors and adverse events.

In line with our approach aimed to guarantee continuity and not just spot initiatives on the topic, Active Citizenship Network is glad to share some concrete activities to improve access to safety healthcare, raising awareness among patients’ association & advocacy groups:

Activity n. 1: European training seminar (4 February 2019)
ACN has organized a European training seminar on the theme of Patient safety & Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), opened to a selected number of leaders of patients’ association and advocacy group coming from 12 EU Member States plus an Extra EU Member State. The initiative could improved their knowledge about:

  • An overall public and private engagement on the topic
  • The role of innovation to improve hygiene in the healthcare sector
  • The case history of the innovative sanitation system PCHS®
  • The identification of obstacles for a more widespread probiotic-based sanitation system across Europe and the role of civic evaluation of public services
  • New strategies to advocate in this field of action

Click here to learn about the event

Activity n. 2: Event inside the European Parliament (5 February  2019)
We have realised a multi-stakeholder event at EU Parliament, immediately after the European training seminar, taking the discussion to the institutional level starting from a patients & citizens' perspective. The meeting was hosted by the MEPs Interest Group “European Patients' Rights and Cross-border Healthcare”

Click here to learn about the public event

Our commitment on the topic
Since its inception in 1978, Cittadinanzattiva Onlus has worked continuously to advocate for safer healthcare, first at National level and then also at EU level through its international branch called Active Citizenship Network (ACN). In 2002, in particular, together with patient associations of 15 Countries, it was draft the European Charter of Patients' Rights that underlines, among others, the Patients’ Right to preventive measures, the Patients’ Right to the observance of quality standards, the Patients’ Right to safety, the Patients’ Right to Innovation.
To encourage the implementation of the abovementioned patients’ rights, we have developed activities in 3 different fields of action:

Patient safety & prevention of nosocomial infections.
Cittadinanzattiva has always been committed to the safety and quality of health care and healthcare facilities, and for many years has been dealing with the issue of healthcare-related infections in Italy. The data from our latest report “Pit salute 2017” elaborated by Cittadinanzattiva, confirm what is still to be done on the subject. In fact, it is clear from the citizens’ reports that many critical issues are linked to infections. In addition to the reports collected by citizens, by way of example, the following initiatives are highlighted:

Contracting & concession services: accessibility, quality, civic evaluation.

  • Since 1998 in Italy, Cittadinanzattiva has launched initiatives of concrete experimentation on the accessibility and quality of the services managed in procurement & concession.
  • We started with a survey of the most significant experiences of citizens' participation in defining and verifying the implementation of procurement contracts in public services.
  • We have continued to promote a new governance of services, as a guarantee for the protection of collective interests, in the three phases: the design of services and the definition of tender specifications; the monitoring of the implementation of procurement contracts; the evaluation for the redefinition of contracts and specifications.
  • We have promoted concrete experiments: practices of involving users in school catering contracts, personal services and hygiene services. Hence, the launch of specific activities in the field of cleaning services and urban hygiene, with the aim of involving citizens to ensure cleanliness. To learn more click here.
  • Among the main results obtained, with regard to the civic evaluation of services, there is undoubtedly the new regulation of the control of local public services introduced by the 2008 Budget Law (art.2 paragraph 461). This was followed by memoranda of understanding for the implementation of this legislation, for example, cf. the protocol signed with CONFSERVIZI (Asstra-Federambiente-FederUtility) for the participation and control of users in the utilities services market.
  • Strong of these positive results, in the following years Cittadinanzattiva diversified its activity in terms of contracted services. On the one hand, in fact, the sector has been analyzed from the point of view of transparency and legality, on the other it has given rise to a growing activity of monitoring and quality analysis in public utility services. To learn more, click here.
  • Civic recommendation "The tender I would like - Purchases in health guaranteeing the rights”(2017-2018).

Sustainability of health systems versus access to quality & safety care.
At EU level, since the last 4 editions, the “sustainability of health systems vs. access to quality & safety of care” is the mainstream of the European Patients’ Rights Day, which every year deals with specific perspective that refer to the macro topic above. For instance:

Each topic has been addressed starting from concrete examples and experiences from different countries, with the point of view of patient associations, professionals, public and private bodies, relevant stakeholders. 
All we are aware that healthcare sustainability, one of the major challenges we have to face, would be achieved if we enhance the cost-efficiency of our healthcare systems. 
Our commitment is to continue to gather good practices also in patient safety and possible solutions in order to guarantee a balance between a sustainability of health systems and a concrete access to quality & safety care for all EU citizens. In this context, a better control of the pathogen contamination is a key aspect, also taking into account that healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) affect up to 15% of hospitalized patients: persistent microbial contamination of hospital surfaces and growing drug resistance of pathogens are among the main causes. To bring healthcare into the future, there is an urgent need for effective, alternative and sustainable ways to reduce the pathogens.

Contact person:
Daniela Quaggia, Active Citizenship Network, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The events will be realized thanks to the unconditional support of COPMA


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