Govt publicises Charter of Patients’ Rights

Namrata Devikar
Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Draft is open to suggestions by public , med professionals till the end of Sept.

Pune: A rough draft of Charter of Patients’ Rights has been made public by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and is open to suggestions by the public and medical professionals in the country till the end of September. 

Health activists and doctors from the city gave a mixed response to it, highlighting the need to clarify the norms further. Speaking to Sakal Times, Dr Abhijit Vaidya, Head of Aryoga Sena, said that many clauses, though are from the patients perspective, need to be revised and be made clearer.

“The clause for emergency service should have a sub-clause where the relatives are made responsible. The clause, though takes into account the patient’s perspective, should have a sub-clause where the relatives are also held by law for not paying the hospital,” said Dr Vaidya.

He added that hospitals may have to incur huge losses as relatives do not settle the bill, in case the patient dies. In such a scenario, medical establishments will suffer a lot. 

What the charter says
Right to Information to the patient
Right to records and reports
Right to emergency medical care
Right to informed consent
Right to confidentiality, human dignity and privacy
Right to the second opinion
Right to transparency in rates, and care according to prescribed rates and wherever relevant
Right to non-discrimination
Right to safety and quality care according to standards
Right to choose alternative treatment options, if available
Right to choose the source for obtaining medicines or tests
Right to proper referral and transfer, which is free from perverse commercial influences
Right to protection for patients involved in clinical trials
Right to protection of participants involved in biomedical and health research
Right to discharge of patients or receive the body of deceased from hospital
Right to patient education
Right to heard and seek redressal

Similarly, Dr Vaidya pointed out that the Right To Information (RTI) is a good clause. However, a doctor cannot fully share insights to patients.

“In the process of diagnosing, the doctor’s mind is tracking the change in the patient’s body. However, he does not pen down every detail. Hence, telling the patient everything is not possible. Only the necessary and important details should be shared with the patients,” said Dr Vaidya.

As a solution to the loopholes in the charter, Dr Vaidya suggested that the public health system should be made stronger to provide better medical facility to the poor and to make the health care system more transparent.

Speaking about the charter, Dr Padma Iyer, President of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Pune chapter, said that the clauses of the charter are welcome. “The patient has every right to know what kind of treatment is done. The medical fraternity has never forced patients to take a decision and has always helped the patients weigh the options available to them. The patients must be informed, it is their right,” said Dr Iyer.


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