Patient safety in Europe

Professional healthcare regulatory authorities in Europe are diverse in their structure and approach. It has evolved at different times and in different ways.

It is important that professional regulation develops and takes place at the Member State level where national and local cultures and considerations can be taken into account, and regulation can be most responsive to the needs of patients and the public.

Despite the differences, many regulatory authorities fulfil a similar range of functions. These can include

  • the maintenance of a list of registered professionals
  • setting educational and professional standards of practice, and
  • dealing appropriately with those whose practice falls short of requirements.

Healthcare Professionals Crossing Borders contributes to patient safety by developing and implementing a range of information exchange activities between regulators.

Most healthcare professionals in Europe are highly competent and committed practitioners. Indeed, the health and well-being of Europe’s citizens often depends on the skill, expertise and safe care of healthcare professionals. A small number do however fall short of the standards required and this could put patients at risk of harm.

In turn, some of these practitioners may seek to exploit the freedoms of the European Single Market by moving from one country to another to avoid regulatory control in their home country.

Healthcare Professionals Crossing Borders contributes to patient safety in Europe by providing a means by which national and regional regulators can work more closely.

It aims to minimise the risk that impaired practitioners can avoid regulatory control and disciplinary action in their home country, and go elsewhere by country hopping within the European Single Market, and going undetected.