By: 12 August 2013

A major new initiative for patient safety in Europe, the new European Patient Safety Foundation, was launched by Professor Eberhard Kochs, President of the European Society of Anaesthesiology (ESA) during his welcome address at the ESA’s annual European Anaesthesiology Congress, Euroanaesthesia, in Barcelona.

ESA has made patient safety its core mission, and has been extremely proactive in promoting this vital area and putting it on the agenda of its 35 member states. Its many initiatives to date include the landmark Helsinki Declaration on Safety in Anaesthesiology (2010), and the Patient Safety Starter Kit, also launched at this year’s meeting, that includes a wide range of tools for anaesthesiology departments across Europe to help improve their safety records (such as lectures, podcasts, hazard warnings, safety checklists and texts on patient safety).

“The new European Patient Safety Foundation takes the work we have already done to the next level, and we invite all organisations with a stake in patient safety to join us,” said Prof Kochs. “We encourage other medical associations, patient organisations, industry, and government to become part of the Foundation. We are aiming to create a platform for all aspects of patient safety to be discussed in a collaborative and open way.”

While the ESA will be the founding member, it is expected that a wide range of affiliates will quickly sign up in order to contribute their views and experience.

The European Patient Safety Foundation will aim to raise safety standards in all countries in Europe and close any existing gaps between them. The Foundation will also aim to work in tandem with patient safety foundations in other parts of the world, such as the USA and Australia.

The new foundation will hold its first major meeting – the European Patient Safety Summit – during Autumn 2014, with exact details of date and venue to be announced later.

“This is the most important initiative on patient safety in Europe for some years,” concludes Professor Kochs. “We look forward to working with colleagues across the entire health spectrum as the Foundation develops to improve safety for our patients.”