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Towards a European network to promote infection prevention for patient safety

In the last years there have been some important EU institutional initiatives that impact on patient safety and specifically on Healthcare Associated Infections (HAI):

  • The European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) set a specific team on Healthcare Associated Infections (HAI),
  • in 2009 European Commission published a "Council Recommendation on Patient Safety, including the prevention and control of Health-Care Associated Infections" where HAI risk and ways to control it are mentioned specifically,
  • in April 2011 European Parliament and the Council formally adopted a Directive on the application of patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare, which provides more clarity about possibilities to seek healthcare in another Member State and clarifies who is responsible for quality and safety of care in cross-border settings.
  • The European Commission adopted last November 2011 a legislative "Proposal for a new Health Growth Programme" where one of the objectives is increasing access tomedical expertise and information for specific conditions also beyond national bordersand developing shared solutions and guidelines to improve healthcare quality and patient safety.

A number of European scientific and professional societies involved in HAI prevention are convinced that the present epidemiological situation, the frequency of HAI, and cross-border movements of citizens, patients and healthcare staff needs international initiatives particularly at a European level. They propose that it is necessary to cooperate and to share their experiences in Europe considering it in a wider sense and not just on European Union political borders.

For these reasons they set up a "European network to promote infection prevention for patient safety" – EUNETIPS - to promote better cooperation among nations, to share experiences, to promote and support initiatives in infection prevention for patient safety particularly at a European level, recognizing and making the most of all single member societies.

EUNETIPS statutes were signed in October 2011 in Venice and formally the activity started from the beginning of 2012 through: 

  • Activities to prevent and control infection risks including patients and staff movement throughout Europe,
  • engagement of politicians, caregivers and individuals in addressing public health implications and challenges and opportunities related to infection prevention;
  • exchange of experiences and harmonization of activities both for professionals and "customers"
  • be an active partner in promoting patient safety in Europe;
  • seek to establish formal links, inter alia, with ECDC, IFIC and other institutions and professional and scientific associations.

Plans for next future include the renovation of the web site where profiles of societies and their experiences will be available, meetings to share common agenda and action with EU, ECDC and other international institutions, comparative studies on prevention of HAI. At the moment the network has its legal domicile in Italy (SIMPIOS, via Farini n.81. 30 Milano and the website is managed by the  German Society of Hospital Hygiene (DGKH).


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