Patient Rights and Responsibilities in India

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Written by Hexahealth Care Team, last updated on 13 March 2024
Patient Rights and Responsibilities in India

As a patient receiving healthcare services, one must know their rights and responsibilities. Knowing basic patient rights can help one receive the best possible care and treatment while ensuring they are treated with dignity and respect when needed.

Similarly, understanding the patient's responsibilities can help them to become aware of their medical journey and contribute effectively to improving the quality of care provided. Accurate information about patient rights and responsibilities is the first step toward a patient-centred approach.

A clear understanding of this subject can make many health-related processes easy, stress-free, cost-effective, and organized. Read on to learn more about these rights and responsibilities.

Understanding Patient Rights

Patient rights refer to patients' legal and ethical entitlements when receiving healthcare services. These rights are intended to protect patients' interests and well-being while ensuring they are treated equally and in confidentiality.

The National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH), the leading healthcare quality accreditation body in India, has defined patient rights under their hospital standards.

Some of the key patient rights that patients should be aware of include the following:

  1. Right to Information: Patients have the right to be informed about their diagnosis, treatment options, and the risks and benefits associated with each option.

    Healthcare providers should provide this information in a language the patient can understand.
  2. Right to Informed Consent: Patients have the right to consent before any medical procedure or treatment is performed.

    This means that they should be informed about the nature of the procedure, the risks and benefits, and any alternative treatments available.
  3. Right to Confidentiality: According to patient rights and responsibilities, the doctors and other health care providers are ethically bound to hold all information regarding the patient's illness, diagnosis, and treatment confidential.

    Patients have the right to keep their personal and medical information confidential and share it only with the doctors and the caretakers unless required by law.
  4. Right to Dignity and Respect: It is the utmost responsibility of the hospitals to respect the dignity of the patient despite their gender.

    A female patient must always have a female health provider during medical treatment or procedure. This right also claims to be treated respectfully, regardless of race, religion, or social status.
  5. Right to Choose: Patients have the absolute right to choose their healthcare provider and actively participate in decisions about their care. Patients can always seek a second opinion on their medical condition and choose the best option.

    It is also crucial for healthcare providers to inform them of all the risks and benefits associated with the treatments and for them to make the final decision.
  6. Right to Quality Care: All patients have the right to receive safe, effective, and high-quality healthcare services.

    According to the guidelines of the NABH, it is one of the patient's rights to be given the best possible medical care without any discrimination based on caste, religion, gender, etc.
  7. Right to Complaint: As per the patient rights and responsibilities of NABH, all patients have the right to complain and provide feedback about their healthcare experience without fear of retaliation.

    They can officially lodge a complaint with the designated officer in the healthcare vicinity and take a course of action if wrong has been done.
  8. Right to Communication: A patient has the absolute right to know whether support services are offered.

    It is their right to ask for accommodations if they suffer from conditions like speech or vision impairment, case of language barriers, etc. 
  9. Right to Transparency in Transactions: The patients have the right to get and to ask for the receipt of all their medical procedures and treatments, from being informed before the denials of the total expenses to the provision of health schemes and insurance.

    The patients have the right to ask for all this and more regarding the billing and finance of their treatments.
  10. Right to Pain Management: A patient has the right to know about pain management and pain relief methods.

    There must always be healthcare providers who can quickly and effectively address the problem and start medication for quick relief.
  11. Right to Transfer and Continuity of Care: Unless the patient has been explained clearly why they are being shifted to another ward or hospital, they have the right to stay exactly where they are.

    They have the right to question their practitioner and ask for the best healthcare options.

These patients rights and responsibilities in hospitals are often displayed on posters, along with contact information for filing complaints or providing feedback.

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Understanding Patient Responsibilities

Patient responsibility in the hospital refers to patients' expectations and obligations towards their own healthcare. By fulfilling these responsibilities, patients can improve the quality of care provided and ensure their safety and well-being.

Some of the key patient responsibilities include:

  1. Providing Accurate Information: Patients are responsible for providing accurate and complete information about their medical history, current health status, and any medications they are taking.
    All relevant information must be shared to ensure a safe and effective line of treatment.
  2. Following Instructions: Patients have a responsibility to follow the instructions given by healthcare providers, including taking medications as prescribed, attending appointments, and following any dietary or lifestyle recommendations.It is also their responsibility to keep the healthcare providers informed of any changes they are making from what has been recommended.
  3. Respecting Healthcare Providers: Patients are responsible for treating healthcare providers with respect and dignity and refraining from verbal or physical abuse.
    They are responsible for ensuring they are not disturbing other patients and the hospital environment with their behaviour.
  4. Taking Care of Personal Belongings: The hospitals are not accountable for taking care of the valuables and belongingness of the patients.
    Patients are responsible for taking care of their personal belongings in the hospital, including valuables and medical equipment.
  5. Paying for Services: Patients are responsible for paying for healthcare services directly or through insurance and providing accurate and timely billing information.
    The patient's responsibility in a hospital is to ensure that no delays and dues are pending.

NABH also provides patients' rights and responsibilities guidelines on posters for hospitals to ensure that patient rights and responsibilities are respected and upheld.

These guidelines cover various topics, including informed consent, confidentiality, medical records, and complaint management.

Patient Rights and Responsibilities in Hospitals

Patient's rights and responsibilities in hospital settings are crucial for ensuring patients receive high-quality healthcare that respects their autonomy and dignity.

These rights and responsibilities are enshrined in various laws, regulations, and accreditation standards, such as those established by the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH) in India.

Healthcare professionals are responsible for respecting and upholding patient responsibility in the hospital.

Hospitals should display patient rights and responsibilities on posters and materials in prominent locations throughout their facilities to inform patients and their families about their rights and responsibilities.

  1. These materials should include information about a patient's right to access medical records, refuse treatment, and receive compassionate care, among other things. 
  2. The NABH has developed a patient rights and responsibilities poster and a patient rights and responsibilities ppt that can be accessed online to understand better.

To get more information about patient rights and responsibilities, download the PDF following the steps discussed below: 

Steps to Download Patient Rights and Responsibilities PDF

To ensure that everything is clear and that one can streamline the multiple aspects of both patients' rights and responsibilities, the following instructions on how to download the patients' rights and responsibilities PDF are sure to come to the rescue.

The simple steps include the following:

Step 1: Open the NABH website (https://nabh.co/#gsc.tab=0). 

Step 2: Browse towards the end of the page and click on ‘Important Public Notice’ under the Site Map.

Step 3: The ‘Important Announcement’ window will then get open.

Step 4: Browse down and click on ‘More’.

Step 5: A new ‘Archives’ window will then open.

Step 6: Once here, click on the ‘Important Announcement’ option under the Archives.

Step 7: Click on the ‘Patients Charter’ option.

Step 8: A new window will open, showing the ‘Patient Charter PDF’ document that includes the patient's rights and responsibilities.

Step 9: To download the patient's rights and responsibilities pdf, just click on the ‘Download’ icon.

Benefits of Patients' Rights and Responsibilities

The many benefits of patients' rights and responsibilities cannot be overstated. Conceptualised and developed, keeping the best interests of both the patients and healthcare providers in mind, these are beneficial for one and all.

Some of the many benefits of patients' rights and responsibilities are:

  1. Empowerment: With the right to be informed, educated, and actively informed in their healthcare decisions, the patients develop a sense of empowerment. This allows them to make essential decisions and proceed wisely and smartly toward their healthcare journey.
  2. Autonomy: These rights allow patients to make autonomous decisions about their bodies and healthcare. It gives them the right to proceed or withdraw from the treatment, respect their personal and cultural values, etc.
  3. Confidentiality and Privacy: Every patient has the right to maintain and safeguard the information regarding their line of treatment, diagnosis, etc. This information can also be shared with the patient and their caretakers.
  4. Redress and Feedback: These rights allow the patients to register their complaints, share feedback, and even seek compensation and other responses when necessary. 

Challenges and Barriers while Exercising Patient Rights

Despite the existence of patient rights, patients may face challenges and barriers in exercising their rights. Language barriers, cultural differences, and lack of awareness about patient rights can hinder patients from understanding their rights and advocating for themselves.

Additionally, some patients may face financial or logistical barriers that prevent them from accessing healthcare services or obtaining necessary medical treatments. To overcome these challenges, patients can educate themselves about their patient's rights and responsibilities by accessing resources provided by hospitals or regulatory bodies.

Several patient advocacy organisations and resources in India can provide education, support, and advocacy services to help patients assert their rights and overcome barriers to accessing healthcare.

  1. These include the Indian Medical Association, the Patient Advocacy Foundation of India, and the National Human Rights Commission. 
  2. These organisations offer various services, including legal assistance, counselling, and outreach programs to help patients understand and assert their rights. 
  3. By utilising these resources, patients can become better equipped to advocate for themselves and ensure that their healthcare needs are met.

Takeaway

Patient rights are essential aspects of the healthcare system. Patients have the right to receive quality healthcare services, access to information about their medical condition, and protect their privacy and confidentiality.

At the same time, patients are responsible for providing accurate and complete information, following healthcare providers' instructions, and respecting doctors and other patients. As a platform dedicated to providing par excellent healthcare assistance, we at Hexahealth are committed to making all your medical journeys a smooth and simple process.

We have developed a platform with experts from diverse fields that safeguards and considers all your health-related needs and requirements. To simplify the many complicated health and medical-related processes, contact us at Hexahealth today. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are patient rights, and why are they important?

Patient rights are the basic rights to which every patient is entitled when seeking medical care. These rights ensure patients are treated with dignity and respect and receive high-quality healthcare services.

Patient rights are necessary because they empower patients to participate actively in their healthcare decision-making process, protect them from mistreatment and abuse, and promote trust and confidence in the healthcare system.

How can I access and download a PDF version of the patient rights and responsibilities document, and where can I find more information about it?

The patient rights and responsibilities document is available on the websites of healthcare facilities and government agencies.

One can easily download the PDF with easy steps and instructions mentioned above or request a copy from your healthcare provider or facility.

What are some examples of patient rights that I should be aware of?

As a patient, you have the right to:

  1. Receive clear and complete information about your medical condition, treatment options, and potential risks and benefits.
  2. Make informed decisions about your medical care, including the right to refuse treatment.
  3. Access your medical records and have them kept confidential.
  4. Receive respectful and considerate care from doctors.

What are patient responsibilities, and how do they relate to patient rights?

Patient responsibilities are patients' obligations to themselves, their healthcare providers, and the healthcare system.

Patient responsibilities are closely related to patient rights because they enable patients to fully exercise their rights and promote a collaborative and respectful relationship between patients and healthcare providers.

How can I advocate for my patient's rights while receiving medical care?

One way to advocate for patient rights is to be informed and proactive about medical care. 

  1. This means asking questions, seeking clarification, and speaking up when your rights are not respected. 
  2. You can request a copy of the patient rights and responsibilities document and familiarise yourself with your specific rights and responsibilities. 
  3. You can file a grievance or complaint with the appropriate healthcare authority if your rights have been violated.

What should I do if I feel that my patient's rights have been violated or disregarded?

If you feel that your patient's rights have been violated or disregarded: 

  1. The first step is to communicate your concerns to your doctor or the appropriate healthcare authority. 
  2. You can file a grievance or complaint and request an investigation. 
  3. If you are unsatisfied with the response, you may need legal assistance.

Are there any specific laws or regulations that protect patient rights, and how do they apply to my healthcare experience?

 In India, patient rights are protected by various laws and regulations:

  1. Including the Consumer Protection Act of 1986, the Clinical Establishments Act of 2010, and the Mental Healthcare Act of 2017. 
  2. These laws and regulations guide healthcare providers and facilities to ensure patients receive safe, effective, high-quality care. 
  3. The laws and regulations also provide mechanisms for patients to file complaints or seek redressal in case of violations of their rights.

What resources are available to help me understand and exercise my patient rights?

Several resources are available to help patients understand and exercise their patient rights. These include: 

  1. The government provides patient rights and responsibilities documents.
  2. Patient advocacy organisations that can provide education and support, such as the Patients' Rights Council in India
  3. Government agencies that oversee healthcare, such as the National Human Rights Commission in India
  4. Legal services that can help patients navigate the legal system and seek redressal for violations of their rights

How can I work with my healthcare providers to ensure that my patient's rights are respected and upheld?

Working with your healthcare professionals to ensure your patient's rights are respected and upheld requires open communication and a collaborative approach. 

  1. You can start by asking questions, seeking clarification about your medical care, and sharing your concerns or preferences with your healthcare provider. 
  2. It's also important to provide accurate and complete information about your medical history and current health status and follow the prescribed treatment plan. 
  3. If you feel that your rights are not respected, you can communicate your concerns and request a review of your medical care plan.

What role do medical ethics play in patient rights and responsibilities?

Medical ethics are the moral principles that guide the conduct of doctors and institutions. 

  1. These principles include respect for patient autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice. 
  2. Patient rights and responsibilities are grounded in these ethical principles, and healthcare professionals must respect and uphold them in patient interactions. 
  3. Medical ethics also provide a framework for resolving ethical dilemmas and conflicts that may arise during medical care.

Can patient rights and responsibilities vary depending on my location or the type of healthcare facility I am receiving care from?

Patient rights and responsibilities may vary depending on the location and type of healthcare facility you are receiving care.

However, certain basic rights and responsibilities apply universally to all patients, such as the right to receive respectful and considerate care and the responsibility to provide accurate and complete information about your medical history.

What are some common misconceptions or misunderstandings about patient rights and responsibilities, and how can I avoid them?

Some common misconceptions or misunderstandings about patient rights and responsibilities include:

  1. Assuming that patients have no responsibilities in the healthcare process
  2. Believing that patient rights are absolute and can never be limited or restricted
  3. Thinking that patient rights and responsibilities are only relevant in certain situations or for certain types of patients
  4. To avoid these misconceptions, educating yourself about patient rights and responsibilities is important, as asking questions or seeking clarification when necessary.

How can I educate myself and others about patient rights and responsibilities, and why is this important for improving healthcare outcomes?

Educating yourself and others about patient rights and responsibilities can promote a culture of respect and collaboration in healthcare and improve healthcare outcomes. 

  1. You can start by reading the patient rights and responsibilities document provided by your healthcare facility or government agency and sharing this information with family and friends. 
  2. You can also get involved with patient advocacy organisations and participate in community outreach and education initiatives.

How can healthcare providers promote and support patient rights and responsibilities in their practice?

Healthcare professionals can promote and support patient rights and responsibilities in their practice by: 

  1. Providing clear and complete information about medical conditions, treatment options, and potential risks and benefits
  2. Encouraging patients to ask questions and participate actively in their healthcare decision-making process
  3. Respecting patient confidentiality and privacy and seeking informed consent before any medical procedures are carried out

What are some potential challenges or barriers to exercising patient rights?

Some potential challenges or barriers to exercising patient rights include:

  1. Lack of awareness or understanding of patient rights and responsibilities
  2. Communication barriers, such as language or cultural differences
  3. Power imbalances between healthcare providers and patients
  4. Limited access to healthcare or financial constraints that may limit patients' ability to seek medical care or assert their rights

How can I overcome the potential challenges or barriers to exercising patient rights?

To overcome these challenges, educating yourself about patient rights and responsibilities and seeking resources and support is important. 

  1. You can also communicate your concerns and preferences with your doctor and seek out second opinions or alternative treatment options if necessary. 
  2. Patient advocacy organisations can also provide education, support, and advocacy services to help patients assert their rights and overcome barriers to accessing healthcare.

References

All the articles on HexaHealth are supported by verified medically-recognized sources such as; peer-reviewed academic research papers, research institutions, and medical journals. Our medical reviewers also check references of the articles to prioritize accuracy and relevance. Refer to our detailed editorial policy for more information.


  1. Doll R, Peto R. Rights involve responsibilities for patients. Bmj. 2001 Mar 24;322(7288):730.link
  2. Healthcare R. Patient rights and responsibilities.link
  3. Ketchum SA, Pierce C. Rights and responsibilities. The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy. 1981 Jan 1;6(3):271-80.link

Updated on : 13 March 2024

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HexaHealth Care Team

HexaHealth Care Team brings you medical content covering many important conditions, procedures falling under different medical specialities. The content published is thoroughly reviewed by our panel of qualified doctors for its accuracy and relevance.

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