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European Parliament calls for 20% reduction in healthcare complications.

April 23, 2009 1:14 PM

West Midlands LibDem MEP Liz Lynne has today said she is delighted that the European Parliament has accepted an amendment she tabled to a report on patient safety, calling for European Member States to reduce the number of accidents and infections picked up by hospital patients by 20% before 2015.

Liz tabled the amendment to a report from the Parliament urging Member States to do more to ensure hospital patients are safe from additional illness or injury including Hospital Acquired Infections such as MRSA or C. Difficile.

Hospital Acquired Infections, also known as 'Superbugs', kill 37 000 people from across the EU each year and costs European countries an estimated £5.1 billion in additional hospital care per year. MEPs want Member States to introduce a range of new measures designed to combat the growth of these infections.

The report also calls for a sharing of best practice among Member Sates in order to reduce incidents of wrongly prescribed medication or needlestick injuries, which occur when patients or healthcare workers are accidentally pricked with a used needle.

Speaking after today's vote Liz, who is Vice- President of the Parliament's Employment and Social Affairs Committee, said that the target was important to encourage serious changes:

"Superbugs such as MRSA and C. Difficile are major killers and we need comprehensive action to combat the spread of these infections.

"We also need wider measures to help stop the thousands of other preventable injuries and infections that occur in hospitals throughout the UK and the rest of Europe each year.

"This is why I am so pleased that the Parliament has today accepted my amendments, and has given European Member States a clear aim. Research by the European Commission suggests that the target is achievable, but we must start now.

"There are many Member States, such as Sweden or Finland, who have already achieved dramatic reductions in these infections. We need to ensure that other Member States learn from their examples. I believe that the aim of a 20% reduction in incidents is the best way to encourage European countries to begin to share best practice on how to combat the problem, increase patient safety and save lives."