Health Ministry releases draft charter of Patients’ Rights

Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has released draft Charter of Patients’ Rights prepared by National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). Ministry plans to implement the Charter of Patients’ Rights through State governments for provision of proper health care by clinical establishments. This charter is expected to act as guidance document for 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.

Draft Charter of Patients’ Rights

The draft charter is inspired by international charters and is guided by national level provisions with objective of consolidating comprehensive document on patients’ rights in India. It provides patients with right to emergency medical care and informed consent, right to non-discrimination, seek a second opinion and choose alternative treatment options, if available. It also includes 17 rights with description and draws upon all relevant provisions.

Need Charter of Patients’ Rights

There is no consolidated uniform document on patients’ rights that can be followed by all states uniformly. Some states have adopted National Clinical Establishments Act, 2010 and certain others have enacted their own State-level legislations to regulate hospitals. Right to non-discrimination in medical treatment is important right. Every patient has 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.

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