Draft charter of Patients’ Rights released

If the draft Charter of Patients’ Rights released by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare comes into force, patients will not just have the right to emergency medical care and informed consent, but will also have the right to non-discrimination, seek a second opinion and choose alternative treatment options, if available.

The draft charter includes 17 rights with a description, draws upon all relevant provisions, inspired by international charters and guided by national level provisions, with the objective of consolidating these into a single document.

The proposed Charter draws upon all the existing relevant provisions, with the objective of consolidating these into a single document, thereby making them publicly known in a coherent manner.

There is an expectation that this document will act as a guidance document for the Centre and state governments to formulate concrete mechanisms so that patient’s rights are given adequate protection and operational mechanisms are set-up to make these rights functional and enforceable by law.

The charter also prescribes certain responsibilities that the patient must adhere to.

These include: providing all required information to their doctor, without concealing relevant facts, so as to ensure a correct diagnosis and treatment.

Patients are also expected to follow all instructions regarding appointment time, co-operate with hospital staff and fellow patients, avoid creating a disturbance to other patients, and maintain cleanliness in the hospital.

Patients should respect the dignity of the doctor and other hospital staff. Whatever the grievance may be, patient or caregivers should not resort to violence in any form.

The patients should also take responsibility for their actions based on choices made regarding treatment options and in case they refuse treatment.

If the draft Charter of Patients’ Rights released by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare comes into force, patients will not just have the right to emergency medical care and informed consent, but will also have the right to non-discrimination, seek a second opinion and choose alternative treatment options, if available.

Once adopted, the charter will have to be prominently displayed at all hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, and diagnostic laboratories. Further, the Centre and state governments need to set-up a grievance redressal mechanism for patients.

This charter is expected to act as a guidance document for the Union Government and State Governments to formulate concrete mechanisms so that Patients’ Rights are given adequate protection and operational mechanisms are set up to make these rights functional and enforceable by law. The onus is now on the States to follow the charter effectively.

Right to non-discrimination is an important right. Every patient has the right to receive treatment without any discrimination based on his or her illnesses or conditions, including HIV status or other health condition, religion, caste, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

The charter assumes significance as India does not have a dedicated regulator like other countries. Existing regulations in the interest of patients and governing healthcare delivery systems are still on the anvil.

Please follow and like us:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *