Govt plans to adopt Charter of Patient Rights

The Charter of Patient Rights includes patient and its caregiver's right to choose the source of obtaining medicines and tests from outside the hospital as long as they secure the medicines from a registered pharmacy or conduct the investigations by quali

In the wake of several cases of profiteering by big private hospitals and medical negligence, the Union health ministry has proposed to adopt an NHRC-made Charter and Rights for patients, proposing 17 rights and five responsibilities.

The charter includes patient and its caregiver's right to choose the source of obtaining medicines and tests from outside the hospital as long as they secure the medicines from a registered pharmacy or conduct the investigations by qualified personnel from an accredited laboratory.

Similarly patient and their caregivers have a right to information on the rates to be charged by the hospital for each type of service provided and facilities available.

Essential medicines, devices and implants are to be made available to the patients at the rate fixed by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority.

The charter comes a year after the death of seven-year-old Adya Singh at Fortis Hospital in Gurugram, which billed his father Jayant Singh Rs 15,59,300 for her 15-day treatment for dengue for 15 days.

An NPPA investigation report found that the hospital made a profit margin of 1,300-1,700% on disposable syringes, 2,000% on intravenous infusion set and nearly 600% on medicines. A report by the Haryana government also found the hospital guilty of overcharging.

But months after the tragic incident, there had been little progress on the legal case so far as the police is yet to file a charge sheet and the Medical Council of India didn’t agree with the findings of these two reports. A petition moved by Singh in the Supreme Court has made little headway.

Adya was not a lone case of overcharging by private hospitals and nursing homes. In the last couple of years, several cases of medical negligence and overcharging by hospitals have come out.

The Charter of Patient Rights was prepared by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for adoption. The Union health ministry now says it plans to implement the charter through for provision of proper healthcare to patients. The proposal is now open for public comments.

Some of the other proposed patient rights are: Right to Information; Right to Reports and Records; Right to Emergency Medical Care, Right to Informed Consent; Right to Confidentiality, Human Dignity and Privacy; Right to Second Opinion (by another doctor from outside the hospital) and Right to non-discrimination.

There is also a Right to proper referral and transfer, which is free from perverse commercial interest and a Right to Protection of Patients involved in Clinical Trials.

The patients' responsibilities include not to indulge in violence. “Patients should respect the dignity of the doctor and other hospital staff as human beings and as professionals. Whatever the grievance may be, patient/caregivers should not resort to violence in any form and damage or destroy any property of the hospital or the service provider,” it says.

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Govt plans to adopt Charter of Patient Rights

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