EU survey shows Irish think hospitals are dangerous

One in four says they or a family member have experienced an ‘adverse event’

One Irish person in four says they or a family member have experienced an “adverse event” while receiving healthcare

One Irish person in four says they or a family member have experienced an “adverse event” while receiving healthcare

Fri, Jun 20, 2014, 01:00

One Irish person in four says they or a family member have experienced an “adverse event”, such as surgical errors or infection, while receiving healthcare, an EU survey on patient safety reveals.

A perception that hospitals are dangerous places persists, with a majority (54 per cent) saying they think it likely that patients could be harmed by the care they receive in them, according to the latest Eurobarometer survey on patient safety and quality of care.

Despite concerns about the safety of the health service, confidence in it seems to be growing; 62 per cent of Irish people described the quality of healthcare as “good”, up 9 per cent on a previous survey in 2009. Some 35 per cent said it was “bad”, higher than the 27 per cent average across the EU.

Confidence growing

Just 16 per cent said healthcare in Ireland was better than elsewhere in the EU, but even this was 5 per cent up from the last survey. Thirty per cent said it was the same as in the rest of the union.

Irish people give more weight than other Europeans to factors such as an absence of waiting lists, cleanliness of facilities and the proximity of a hospital or doctor when assessing the quality of healthcare, according to the survey.

However, the presence of well-trained staff is the most important criterion for people both in Ireland and the rest of the EU.

The 25 per cent of Irish people who said they or a family member had experienced an “adverse event” is broadly in line with the average for the EU, which is 27 per cent.