Charter calls for treatment of patients with dignity and respect they deserve

By: ELIZABETH MERAB

Patient rights were formalised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 1948 to recognise “the inherent dignity” and the “equal and unalienable rights of all members of the human family”.

The rights, however, vary in different countries and in different jurisdictions, often depending on the prevailing cultural and social norms.

“Despite variations in local legislation and administration of patients’ rights, it is important that patients receive treatment consistent with the dignity and respect they are owed as human beings.

“This means providing, at minimum, equitable access to quality medical care, ensuring patients’ privacy and the confidentiality of their medical information, informing patients and obtaining their consent before employing a medical intervention, and providing a safe clinical environment,” says the WHO.

While the charter documents the rights every patient has while seeking medical care, it also documents the responsibilities that the patient should assume.

For example, the patient has the responsibility to take care of their health by adopting a healthy lifestyle.

They also have a responsibility to give relevant and accurate information which can be used to make accurate diagnosis and treatment.

The 20-page document says the patient is responsible for taking care of the medical records they have and producing them if and when required. This means that you should always ask for your X-rays and scans from the hospital and keep them safely.

The charter also provides guidelines for resolving conflicts that might – arise between a patient and the health care provider.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION