Europeans concerned about medical errors

The first survey ever on citizens’ perceptions and experiences of medical errors in the EU shows that nearly 80% of Europeans find medical errors an important problem in their country.

A recent Eurobarometer survey on the perception of medical errors by Europeans reveals that almost four in five EU citizens (78%) classify medical errors as an important problem in their country. In Italy (97%), Poland (91%) and Lithuania (90%), the great majority of the respondents evaluated the problem as ‘important’. Finland and Denmark clearly stand out from the other countries as their citizens (51% and 48% respectively) do not consider medical errors to be an imminent issue in their country. 

According to the survey, most EU citizens trust medical professionals not to make a mistake while treating their patients. Dentists are the most trusted category with 74% of Europeans having confidence in them. However, many respondents doubted the quality of health care provided by other medical professional groups. This, according to the survey results, implied that “trust in the functioning of health care systems could be improved.”

The Commission is set to integrate the results of this first analysis into the work of the patient safety working group.

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