Patient safety as a priority in Europe. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) World Alliance for Patient Safety (2005) defines patient safety as ‘freedom for a patient from unnecessary harm or potential harm associated with healthcare’. While health care has become more effective, it has also become more complex, and there are consequently more risks to patients. Patient safety is currently a priority in all European healthcare systems and beyond.
In European countries, significant improvements to provide safer care for patients have been introduced in health systems seeking to ensure that procedures and treatments are being performed correctly and in a timely and effective way. Although the organisation of health systems and the delivery of healthcare remain a national competence, the EU plays an increasingly important complementary and supporting role in health and the impact of its actions on policies, healthcare delivery, and patient safety is highly significant. The EU has made legislation, recommendations, and funded projects to assure patient safety and mutual sharing and learning between Member States.