Patient rights in health care

Friday, 09 August, 2019

Patient rights in health care

A growing desire among the medical profession to partner with consumers in delivering health care is reflected in the latest Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights.

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has launched the charter’s second edition.

The Australian Government agency said its charter described rights that applied to people in all healthcare settings across Australia and reflected an increased focus on person-centred care.

The charter outlined what every person could expect when receiving care and described seven fundamental rights including: access; safety; respect; partnership; information; privacy; and giving feedback. Its use was embedded in the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards.

The release marked the first major update to the original charter, adopted by Australian health ministers in 2008.

“Community attitudes to health are constantly evolving and we reviewed the charter through that lens, to ensure it reflected what the wider community believe are their appropriate healthcare rights in today’s landscape, and to clarify areas that required further explanation,” Commission Chair Professor Villis Marshall said.

“The new charter explains a patient’s rights to privacy in practice, it expands on the importance of informed consent and open disclosure, and it reflects the increased focus of the medical profession on partnering with the consumer in the delivery of health care in Australia.”

South Australia’s Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner Dr Grant Davies said the charter provided a set of clear directions to consumers of how they could participate in the health care they received.

“It encourages consumers to be equal partners in that healthcare delivery and it also makes health service providers aware of what their obligations are with consumers,” he said.

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care said healthcare professionals could use the charter to discuss with patients their rights when using the healthcare system.

The commission has developed resources to support healthcare providers when discussing patient rights.

For information about the charter, visit:

Meanwhile, the Australian Digital Health Agency has launched a My Health Record Mental Health toolkit for mental healthcare providers and their patients.

The agency said the toolkit was developed to ensure healthcare providers were equipped to assist their patients with clear and specific information to make an informed decision about using My Health Record.

Image credit: The Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights second edition launch. Pictured, from left to right, are: Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care Clinical Director Associate Professor Amanda Walker; Princess Alexandra Hospital Nursing Services Executive Director Adjunct Associate Professor Veronica Casey; South Australia’s Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner Dr Grant Davies; Health Consumer Queensland Chief Executive Officer Melissa Fox; and Health advocate Luke Escombe.

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