On Tuesday, 17 March 2009 I attended the Health First Europe round table on patient safety and healthcare associated infections (HCAIs) in the European Parliament. The session was co-hosted by MEPs Liz Lynne and Amalia Sartori. The presentation by Dr Carl Suetens from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) presented some interesting figures on the cost of HCAIs to the European health system. From the press release:
HCAIs are directly responsible for approximately 37,000 deaths annually and contribute to a further 110,000 across the EU. The burden on healthcare systems is immense, resulting in an additional 16 million days of hospital stays per year. Assuming the average daily cost of a hospital stay is €334, the total annual healthcare cost for the EU-27 can be estimated at €5.5 billion. This figure does not however include the indirect costs linked to loss of income, or the intangible costs associated with physical and emotional suffering.
I thought this was one of the better events on patient safety in Brussels because of its good mix of speakers and attendees. I felt it was quite impressive to see how simple procedures such as hand washing routines can help reduce this threat to patients and workers alike.
– Mark Grossien, Director Communications & External Affairs, Eucomed