NHRC: Hospitals can be sued for rule violation soon in Tamil Nadu

Charter of Patients’ Rights set to be approved by NHRC to regulate private health care system in country

Published: 16th September 2017 02:08 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th September 2017 09:13 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) will soon give approval for a ‘Charter of Patients’ Rights’, framed by its core committee on health. The 16-points draft, if approved, will be adopted nationally. Speaking at the State-level consultation on Regulation of Private Sector and Community Action for Health in Tamil Nadu on Friday, Abhay Shukla, a member of the core committee on Health, NHRC, said the charter has been drafted as there is no mechanism to regulate the private health care system in the country. “The draft must be approved by the National Human Rights Commission.

The approval is likely to be given in a month or so. Once, it gets the approval, the draft will be displayed in the NHRC website. If any of the rights mentioned in the draft are violated, the NHRC can issue notice to the hospital or the medical professional involved,” Shukla added.

Even seven years after the enactment of the Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010, by the Central Government to provide for registration and regulation of all clinical establishments in the country, many states including Tamil Nadu have not enacted the law yet, said Ameerkhan, National Convenor, People’s Health Movement.

One of the key rights recognised by the draft charter has been that no person can be denied emergency medical care on grounds that the patient was unable to make a payment. Some of the other rights mentioned in the draft are providing of information related to nature of treatment and related costs in a private hospital, access to medical records and reports during hospitalisation, and right to get a second opinion.

The Consultation was organised by People’s Health Movement and Makkal Nalavazvu Iyakkam. Thol Thirumavalavan, president, Viduthalai Siruthaigal Party and U Vasuki, Central Committee Member, CPI(M) also participated in the meeting.

What it says

Patients not given records or reports on demand during period of hospitalisation
Denial of right to second opinion- patient or caregiver not allowed to consult another specialist during period of hospitalisation
Denial of right to informed consent-proper information not provided before operation or other invasive procedure
Not respecting patient’s privacy, or not keeping confidential the patient’s identity
The dead body of a deceased patient is not handed over to the relatives, until the full payment of all expenses has been made to the hospital. Similarly, newborn baby of a recently delivered mother is not handed over to the mother, until the full hospital expenses have been paid
Patient is coerced into buying medicines from a specific medical store in the hospital premises
Patients rights denied during a clinical trial-proper informed consent not taken, full information not provided etc
Patient from economically weaker section denied treatment in a charitable/trust hospital which is supposed to reserve certain proportion of beds for such patients (only applicable in some states)

The list of violations by hospitals that can be sued under the new charter being drafted by the National Human Rights Commission

Denial of emergency medical care in hospitals on the grounds that emergency treatment would be started only after payment is made by patient or caregiver.

Patients or caregivers not provided basic information related to nature of treatment and related costs
in a private hospital.

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