In 2010 the European Board of Anaesthesiology/European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS) and the European Society of Anaesthesiology launched the Helsinki Declaration on Patient Safety in Anaesthesiology which provided a shared European opinion of what is worth doing and practical to improve patient safety in perioperative care.
To mark the 10th anniversary of the Helsinki Declaration, the European Society of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care organised The Patient Safety Policy Summit in 2020 to call on policymakers to ensure that patients are protected from harm before, during and after surgical and interventional procedures, no matter where they seek treatment in Europe.
The summit successfully took place the 3rd of March in the European Committee of the Regions with deep and moving conversations and different perspectives between patients advocates, national and European political leaders, industry partners and members of the endorsing societies, with the special relevance of the ESAIC representatives.
The Summit opened with a stirring video message from the WHO Regional Director for Europe, Dr Hans Kluge, congratulating ESAIC for initiating the Policy Summit and for striving to put patient safety higher on the political agenda.
During the day, engaging discussions and different perspectives were shared between patient advocates, national and European political leaders, industry partners and medical experts. Topics discussed included patient engagement, data collection, implementation of best practices, and the importance of education, training and research. The plenary sessions were live-streamed.
Speakers and attendees appreciated the genuine engagement and dialogue with policymakers. During the day, Members of the European Parliament signed the Consensus Statement, which outlines recommendations to national and European policymakers for creating a common European approach to perioperative patient safety.
The following societies participated: European Society of Intensive Care Medicine, the European Surgical Association, the European Society of Vascular Surgery, The European Board and College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, the International Federation of Nurse Anaesthetists, the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists, and the European Patients’ Forum. They all actively helped the ESA with the planning and design of the event, and the development of a Consensus Statement which could in time lead to a Motion of Resolution. The Multidisciplinary and patient-centred approaches to perioperative patient safety: A European consensus statement outlines recommendations for action by European institutions and EU member states.
Unfortunately, due to increasing concerns about the spread of COVID-19, the second day of the Policy Summit, due to be held on 4 March in the European Parliament, was cancelled at short notice.
Despite the Covid-19 crisis, that forced an early finalization of the summit, it reached almost all of its goals. The Summit reinforced the ESAIC’s image and prestige through the topic of patient safety and created political visibility and influence for the Society as a whole.
ESAIC warmly thanks everyone involved in the 2020 Patient Safety Policy Summit for their commitment to improving the safety of patients undergoing surgical and interventional procedures across Europe.
Find out more about ESAIC’s work on patient safety in anaesthesiology.
A word from our leadership
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
It was an immense pleasure to host our first-ever Patient Safety Policy Summit. Brussels is not only the capital of Belgium, it is also a multi-cultural melting pot, a decision-making capital and an ideal place to convene the many stakeholders involved in patient safety.
Some 313 million patients undergo anaesthesia and surgical treatment in the world each year. According to the WHO, one in ten patients may be harmed in developed countries while receiving care, and in EU member states, medical errors and healthcare-related adverse events are estimated to occur in 8-12 per cent of hospitalisations. Anaesthesiologists pioneered patient safety in perioperative care and continue to play a pivotal role in ensuring that patients are protected from harm before, during and after surgical procedures.
The European Society of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care (ESAIC) is the leading European organisation for anaesthesia, intensive care, perioperative, critical emergency and pain medicine, raising standards of care through high-quality education, professional development and research. ESAIC’s commitment to patient safety culminated in 2010 with the launch, together with the European Board of Anaesthesiology, of the Helsinki Declaration on Patient Safety in Anaesthesiology, which aims to promote best practices in perioperative care.
Endorsed worldwide and by the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists, the Declaration celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2020. Coupled with WHO Resolution 68/15, reinforcing the need to strengthen emergency and essential surgical care and anaesthesia, ESAIC raised awareness of the need for all stakeholders to implement and build on these important milestones.
To mark the 10th anniversary of the Helsinki Declaration on Patient Safety in Anaesthesiology, ESAIC organised its first Patient Safety Policy Summit to bring together medical experts, policymakers, patient organisations and industry representatives.
To ensure optimal outcomes in perioperative care, no matter where patients seek treatment in Europe, we asked policymakers to support the implementation of the Helsinki Declaration. We urged them to:
- ensure that minimum standards of care are met;
- facilitate data collection and analysis in order to measure, monitor and improve patient safety and quality of care; and
- promote excellence in anaesthesiology and surgical care through education, research and innovation.
The ultimate goal of the Summit was to seek endorsement from European policymakers on the need for a common patient safety approach to perioperative care, culminating with the formal endorsement of a consensus statement.
On behalf of the European Society of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care, we look forward to welcoming healthcare professionals, researchers, industry leaders, policymakers and, of course, patients and patient representatives to join with us and build on the growing momentum of national, European and global efforts to strengthen patient safety.
Professor Kai Zacharowski, MD PhD ML FRCA
Immediate Past President
Professor Stefan De Hert, MD PhD
The Helsinki Declaration in practice – implementation status in 2020
Despite the importance of the Helsinki Declaration recommendations for patient safety during anaesthesia and surgery, a recent survey revealed that there are still significant gaps and variations in its implementation.
Based on 1.589 responses from 38 European countries, it was found that:
- only one third of healthcare professionals (37.3%) confirmed that their hospital prepares an annual report on implemented safety measures
- more than half of the respondents (54.3%) do not produce an annual report on morbidity and mortality
- almost a quarter of respondents (23.2%) do not make use of incident reporting systems at all, or only sometimes use them
- more than a fifth of respondents (21.9%) do not use, or only sometimes use the WHO Safe Surgical Checklist
- almost a quarter of respondents (24.2%) were unsure which sedation standards their hospital uses
- only one third (37.2%) of respondents contribute to national audits of safe practice.
The trend that emerges from the survey is that implementation of patient safety tools and practices vary according to the level of political support. We urge policymakers to ensure that minimum standards of care are met across Europe.
|MEP BARTOSZ ARŁUKOWICZ||EPP
|MEP BRANDO BENIFEI||S&D
|MEP BILJANA BORZAN||S&D
|MEP CRISTIAN-SILVIU BUŞOI||EPP
|MARIA DA GRAÇA CARVALHO||EPP
|MEP MARIAN-JEAN MARINESCU||EPP
|MEP ALDO PATRICIELLO||EPP
|MEP SIRPA PIETIKÄINEN||EPP
|MEP PAULO RANGEL||EPP
|MEP TOMISLAV SOKOL||EPP
|MEP PETRA DE SUTTER||Greens/EFA
|MEP ISTVÁN UJHELYI||S&D
|NICOLAE STEFANUTA||Renew Europe
|MEP TUDOR CIUHODARU||S&D
|MEP FABIO MASSIMO CASTALDO||Non-attached member