Pharmaceutical Group of the European Union

Members Area

Patient Safety

Pharmacists are educated to help patients to manage medicines and their side effects effectively and safely especially when taking multiple medication. Community pharmacists offer a familiar and highly trusted environment in which to reduce medication errors and improve safety, while reducing costs and improving the quality of care is core of their daily activities.

Community pharmacists have been working in the development of processes and tools to ensure Patient Safety in community pharmacies, but it is important that both community pharmacists and health policy makers realise the synergies that can arise from integrating those processes in the Patient Safety path.

Moreover, community pharmacy practice is becoming patient centred and process oriented. Dispensing the appropriate medicine and providing the relevant information and care, to the right person, at the right time is central in the community pharmacist's daily practice. All pharmacists' daily activities are one way or another linked to Patient Safety. That is why it is not possible to identify single initiatives towards ensuring Patient Safety in community pharmacies without contextualizing them in the community pharmacy setting, the distribution chain and the continuum of care. However, medication safety is certainly an area where pharmacists' expertise are of vital importance.

Patient Safety and Quality of Care Joint Action (PaSQ)

The European Union Network for Patient Safety and Quality of Care, PaSQ Joint Action is co-funded and supported by the European Commission within the Public Health Programme. The main objective of PaSQ is to support the implementation of the Council Recommendation on Patient Safety. PaSQ unites representatives of the European medical community, including pharmacy community represented by PGEU, and the institutional partners involved in Patient Safety and Quality of Care in the Member States of the European Union. It is building on European Union Network for Patient Safety (EUNetPaS)' experience and network to promote the organisation of Patient Safety and Quality of Care platforms in all European Member States to improve Patient Safety and Quality of Care. PGEU has worked actively in EUNetPaS Project mainly on teh issues around medication safety.

PGEU continues to contribute to the project. PGEU is part of 2 subgroups: one on “reporting and learning systems on adverse events” which published a mapping exercise in May 2014. The objective of the subgroup was to collect the key features and give recommendations to support the implementation of Council Recommendation 2009/C 151/012 regarding reporting and learning systems. The report serves as a ‘catalogue’ of how Member States with established reporting systems have chosen to manage their own reporting systems. Member States who wish to establish a nationwide reporting system can use this catalogue to help implement their own reporting system. This report shows how several European countries have applied knowledge in various ways from the WHO and the EU in the establishment and revision of reporting systems. There are significant differences between reporting systems in Member States however, the RLS subgroup has been able to identify key features in the reporting systems and make recommendations for these. It has been important for the subgroup to show the differences between reporting systems. These differences can help to understand the various setups available, and the advantages and disadvantages they may deliver.

The second subgroup “education and training of healthcare workers” recently published their key findings and recommendations. The report contains the analysis of the modules, programs, courses, workshops, schemes and seminars provided by the members of the group. The initiatives reported are used at local, regional or national level and focus on different aspects of safe care delivery and are intended for a diverse audience. As such, any of the initiatives would require adaptation to national settings, expectations and financing and serve to inform the educational environment, policy makers and public rather than act as a concrete example to emulate. The key recommendations are as follows:

Patient safety culture needs education and training – education and training needs safety culture.

Education and training in patient safety:

• should be introduced and implemented in the curricula for healthcare workers and managers in every Member State,
• should be on all levels of healthcare professionals and managers learning and development,
• should be based on previous European project and WHO work in building/developing curricula,
• should find constructive, feasible and effective ways to include the perspective of patients when developing the curricula on patient safety,
• should use curricula adaptable to each country – cannot be a static program.

On 21st March 2014 the PGEU participated and contributed to the Patient Safety and Quality of Care Medicines Reconciliation Webinar hosted by the European Federation of Nurses (EFN). During this Webinar a number of presenters discussed Medicines Reconciliation and their experiences / successes in delivering this service.

The PGEU attended the PaSQ event ‘Sharing of good practices to improve quality of care and patient safety in the EU’ in Madrid on 12th June.

The recommendations of the PASQ joint action will be delivered in July 2014 in Rome under the Italian Presidency.

In early 2014 the PGEU responded to a Commission consultation on Patient Safety and Quality of Care.