The ERNST Group


The European Researchers' Network Working on Second Victims

Financed by : European Commission


Reference: CA19113

Duration: September 2020 to September 2024



Patient Safety is a Priority in Europe. However, unfortunately every year between 8 and 12% of the people admitted to hospitals and around 6% of those in primary care suffer from an adverse event (AE) while receiving healthcare. When an AE does occur, there is a domino effect with healthcare professionals (second victims of these events) also suffering from the knowledge of having harmed their patients (first victims). This second victim phenomenon increases the likelihood of further errors and suboptimal care as consequences of emotional disturbances in the hours after the patient safety event.

The overall aim of this Action is to facilitate discussion and share scientific knowledge, perspectives, legislation and rules, and best practices concerning AEs in healthcare institutions to implement joint efforts to support second victims, and to introduce an open dialogue and discussion among stakeholders about the consequences of the second victim phenomenon based on a cross-national collaboration that integrates different disciplines and approaches, including legal, educational, professional, and socio-economic perspectives.

This Action will yield innovative solutions through enhancing our understanding of decision-making after patient safety events, ideas for caring for the care provider as a  prerequisite for safety and quality of care, promoting debate among stakeholders involved in the understanding of clinical errors and creating new approaches to break the taboo around mistakes, enriching our knowledge of the factors that might contribute to transparency after mistakes, capturing the multi-dimensionality of the second victim phenomenon, and proposing recommendations and interventions useful for the European countries and overseas.

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