Enhancing quality and safety of care for patients across Europe

August 18, 2017

The directive aims at helping European patients to better understand their rights to access proper healthcare, regardless of their place of residence, while respecting the legal framework of each Member State.

The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and the European Heart Network (EHN), coordinating the MEP Heart Group, welcome the new Commission proposal and support the EU Institutions in their effort to enhance quality and safety of care for patients across Europe.

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in Europe, accounting for 4.3 million deaths in Europe and costing the EU over 192 billion Euros each year.

Prof. Georgs Andrejevs, Co-Chair of the MEP Heart Group, is of the opinion that "European patients have waited too long for this proposal and it is now time that they all have equal access to high quality care across borders."

European Cardiologists pioneer "heartcare without borders" by developing a number of quality assurance strategies, including initiatives such as a Core Curriculum and a Web-based platform that will facilitate harmonised training methods in Europe.

"Raising the standards of professional education, certification and revalidation in cardiology are practical and important steps to address understandable concerns regarding quality of care and patient safety", explains Doctor Peter Kearney, ESC Fellow and spokesperson at today's MEP Heart Group meeting. "Today, there are striking and important differences in the training structures applying in different Member States which give rise to uncertainties for patients regarding the quality of care they may receive. Additionally, migration of doctors within the EU is hampered by lack of a co-ordinated approach."

"Without any doubt, our patients want high-quality care and, more importantly, transparency on the quality of treatment," says Susanne L??gstrup, Director of the European Heart Network. "When we talk about the patient's journey, we do not refer to travelling to another country for treatment. We refer to ensuring that our patients get the necessary support throughout their treatment. Our patients should be informed, involved and reassured. Often though, they are left disempowered, confused and anxious. I think securing the patient's journey across borders represents a great challenge."

"Top quality patient care may be shaped by EU legislation, but it depends first and foremost on systematically delivered structured training, which is why we believe in harmonised education", adds Dr Peter Mills, Co-Chair of the European Board for the Specialty of Cardiology, the organisation tasked with harmonising the training of cardiologists across Europe.