India releases charter of patient rights

October 10, 2018 0 By CH Unnikrishnan

Prepared by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the draft will act as a guidance document for the Union government 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.ndia’s health ministry has released the draft statute of the country’s first ‘charter of patients’ rights’ to address issues in the healthcare sector.

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Rights of the patients as per the draft patient charter

Right to factual information

Every patient has a right to adequate relevant information about the nature, cause of illness, provisional/confirmed diagnosis, proposed investigations and management, and possible complications To be explained at their level of understanding in a language known to them. The treating physician has a duty to ensure that this information is provided in simple and intelligible language to the patient to be communicated either personally by the physician, or by means of his / her qualified assistants.

Every patient and his/her designated caretaker have the right to factual information regarding the expected cost of treatment based on evidence. The hospital management has a duty to communicate this information in writing to the patient and his/her designated caretaker.

Right to records and report

The relatives/caregivers of the patient have a right to get discharge summary or in case of death, death summary along with original copies of investigations.

The hospital management has a duty to provide these records and reports and to instruct the responsible hospital staff to ensure the provision of the same are strictly followed without fail.

Right to emergency medical care

It is the duty of the hospital management to ensure the provision of such emergency care through its doctors and staff, rendered promptly without compromising on the quality and safety of the patients.

Right to informed consent

It is the duty of the hospital management to ensure that all concerned doctors are properly instructed to seek informed consent, that an appropriate policy is adopted and that consent forms with the protocol for seeking informed consent are provided for patients in an obligatory manner.

It is the duty of the primary treating doctor administering the potentially hazardous test/treatment to explain to the patient and caregivers the main risks that are involved in the procedure, and after giving this information, the doctor may proceed only if consent has been given in writing by the patient/caregiver or in the manner explained under Drugs and Cosmetic Act Rules 2016 on informed consent.

Right to confidentiality, human dignity, and privacy

All female patients have the right to the presence of another female person during physical examination by a male practitioner. It is the duty of the hospital management to ensure the presence of such female in the case of female patients.

Right to second opinion

Every patient has the right to seek the second opinion from an appropriate clinician of patients’ / caregivers’ choice. The hospital management has a duty to respect the patient’s right to second opinion, and should provide to the patients caregivers all necessary records and information required for seeking such opinion without any extra cost or delay.

Right to transparency in rates

Every patient has a right to receive health care services within the range of rates for procedures and services prescribed by Central and State Governments from time to time, wherever relevant. However, no patient can be denied choice in terms of medicines, devices and standard treatment guidelines based on the affordability of the patients’ right to choice.

Right to non- discrimination

The hospital management must regularly orient and instruct all its doctors and staff regarding the same.

The hospital management has a duty to ensure that no form of discriminatory behaviour or treatment takes place with any person under the hospital’s care.

Right to safety and quality care according to standards

The hospital management has a duty to ensure the safety of all patients in its premises including clean premises and provision for infection control guidelines and to avoid medical negligence or deficiency in service.

Right to choose the source for obtaining medicines or tests

When any medicine is prescribed by a doctor or a hospital, the patients and their caregivers have the right to choose any registered pharmacy of their choice to purchase them.

Right to continuity of care

The patient and caregivers have the right to be informed by the hospital about any continuing healthcare requirements following discharge from the hospital. The hospital management has a duty to ensure proper referral and transfer of patients regarding such a shift in care.

Right to take discharge of the patient, or receive the body of deceased from the hospital

A patient has the right to take a discharge and cannot be detained in a hospital, on procedural grounds such as a dispute in payment of hospital charges. Similarly, caretakers have the right to the dead body of a patient who had been treated in a hospital and the dead body cannot be detailed on procedural grounds, including nonpayment/dispute regarding payment of hospital charges against wishes of the caretakers.

Right to choose alternative treatment options if available

In case a patient leaves a healthcare facility against medical advice on his / her own responsibility, then notwithstanding the impact that this may have on the patient’s further treatment and condition, this decision itself should not affect the observance of various rights mentioned in this charter.

Right to patient education

The hospital management and treating physician have a duty to provide such education to each patient according to standard procedure in the language the patients understand and communicate in a simple and easy to understand manner.

Right to be heard and seek redressal

Patients and caregivers have the right to seek redressal in case they are aggrieved, on account of infringement of any of the above-mentioned rights in this charter. This may be done by lodging a complaint with an official designated for this purpose by the hospital/healthcare provider and further with an official mechanism constituted by the government such as Patients’rights Tribunal Forum or Clinical establishments regulatory authority as the case may be.

Every hospital and clinical establishment has the duty to set up an internal redressal mechanism as well as to fully comply and cooperate with official redressal mechanisms including making available all relevant information and taking action in full accordance with orders of the redressal body as per the Patient’s Right Charter or as per the applicable existing laws.

Right to protection for patients involved in clinical trials

Right to protection of participants involved in biomedical and health research