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Ensure patients’ rights are established and enforced as human rights: Dr Naresh Purohit

Bhopal 12.04.2022. The right to health is not justifiable in India though the Supreme Court has interpreted it to be a part of Article 21 (protection of life and personal liberty). The need of the hour is to ensure patients’ rights are established and enforced as human rights said, Dr Naresh Purohit , Executive Member of the Federation of Hospital Administrator.

Speaking to reporters here on this issue renowned healthcare activist Dr Purohit said that the apex court’s judgements and the legal provisions in Drugs and Cosmetic Act, 1940, Consumer Protection Act 1986, Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002, and the Clinical Establishment Act, 2010, have helped establish the case of looking at the rights of patients as part of human rights.
He pointed that drawing upon these judgements and the provisions, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) drafted and adopted the Charter of Patient’s Rights.

Renowned Epidemiologist and Healthcare administrator Dr Purohit said that the patient has every right to know the expected cost of his/her treatment and the hospital administration should provide written information about the charges and the expected cost of treatment, including any additional charges that may be levied. Patients also have the right to raise queries and seek clarification from the hospital administration and get defects/doubts in billing (if any) corrected/cleared.

“However, in most cases, hospitals don’t provide such information, leading to overcharging from patients without their knowledge.”he added

Noted physician stated that an ignorance towards patients’ rights has created much trauma in the healthcare system. Only the awareness of patients rights can improve the overall standards of healthcare and governance

“Equipped with the knowledge of their legal rights, patients could demand what they want from authorities and hospital and healthcare professionals would be more receptive and in touch with the needs of their patients,” he averred.

“There is no representation of patients’ problems in the system because they are not being communicated to the appropriate authorities. “he added
Dr Purohit revealed that the medical field is largely hierarchical in nature with doctors and specialists being at the top rung and patients at the receiving end. Patients have little knowledge about medical technicalities and procedures involved. Therefore, the doctor-patient relationship is inherently unequal.

“The challenges many patients face in accessing healthcare, the concerns about the lack of evidence-based medical practice, the ‘mixed-pathy, the diversity of providers, the decay in many elements of public healthcare provisioning, the increasingly corporatised nature of private healthcare, all serve as important reminders about why we need concerted efforts to delineate patients’ rights in India,” said he

“The rights of patients are not included in medical education curriculum. Hence, doctors do not receive any formal education or training about rights of patients.”
noted he

He pointed however, violation of patients’ rights is rampant with no remedy to the aggrieved patient/caregiver in most cases.

He cautioned unless collective and sustained efforts are made by the medical fraternity, patient groups, activists and civil society organisations, establishing the rights of patients as human rights will be extremely difficult.

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