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  • White Paper: Strengthening healthcare systems through better patient safety in the fight against cancer: A call for stronger EU action (April 2023)

    • Belgium
    • Reports and articles
    • Pre-existing
    • Original author
    • No
    • European Network for Safer Healthcare
    • Health and care staff, Patient safety leads, Researchers/academics


    Patient safety in oncology should remain a standard indicator of quality of care and a critical objective on the EU health policy agenda as all European citizens deserve the same level of safeguarding and protection at all stages of their healthcare. Patient safety is also a critical indicator of life overall, as any irreversible or reversible patient safety issue potentially affects the quality of life. This report from the European Network for Safer Healthcare calls for 10 actions for European policy makers and national health authorities.


    1. Implement patient safety within the framework of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan and related flagship initiatives, such as the European Cancer Inequalities Registry, the European Health Data Space as well as in the EU4Health annual work programmes.
    2. Update the 2014 Council conclusions on patient safety and quality of care, including the infection prevention and control of healthcare-associated infection (HAI) and antimicrobial resistance.
    3. Place medication safety requirements in the Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe, in the EU revision of the general pharmaceuticals legislation and in the recent Commission’s proposal of the European Health Data Space through digitalisation of medication management and traceability systems in healthcare settings to minimise medication errors, improve affordability and accessibility of medicines, efficiency of healthcare professionals and standardise and collect data to evaluate the impact of cancer medication on patient outcome.
    4. Create a European framework on healthcare-associated infection (HAI) prevention and control (including surgical site infections, catheter-related bloodstream infections and sepsis) and increase adherence to ECDC evidence-based guidelines and protocols.
    5. Develop harmonised protocols for the right selection algorithms of vascular access management in cancer settings and training healthcare professionals to prevent vascular complications (such as extravasations and phlebitis).
    6. Facilitate the systematic exchange of best practices between healthcare stakeholders both at national and European level to address the issue of variability in the standards of care.
    7. Incorporate to the European Cancer Centre’s (ECC) Certification Programme a one cross-tumour Catalogue Requirement for patient safety based on existing clinical evidence.
    8. Improve occupational conditions to protect the safety and well-being of healthcare professionals working in cancer care, by promoting education and development opportunities for health personnel, addressing oncology workforce shortages, and reducing unnecessary barriers to professional mobility.
    9. Invest in medical technologies and adopt process-improvement techniques to enhance patient safety, enable improvement of oncology treatment and improve communication between healthcare professions and the community.
    10. Work systematically on the improvement and development of a safety culture in all healthcare settings whereby active leadership, open communication, transparency and accountability are indispensable components.
    White Paper: Strengthening healthcare systems through better patient safety in the fight against cancer: A call for stronger EU action (April 2023) https://www.healthfirsteurope.eu/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/A3A4-44pp-Booklet-Digital.pdf
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