Your rights as a patient – Nurse Tshepo

Have you ever been denied your right to receiving healthcare treatment? Every citizen has the right to receive adequate healthcare as outlined in the Patients’ Rights Charter of South Africa. I receive a lot of questions from users whose rights were denied when visiting clinics so here’s a summary of our rights to familiarize yourself with,

Access to healthcare

Regardless of your ability to pay, everyone has the right to immediate emergency care at any open public medical facility. Patients also have the right to information about treatment and rehabilitation so they can make an educated decision.

  • Keep in mind that new-borns, kids, pregnant women, the elderly, disabled people, patients in pain, and people with HIV or AIDS are prioritised.
  • Counselling on concerns such as sexual reproductive health should be done in a respectful manner.
  • A healthcare professional should act with integrity, respect for people’s dignity, patience, empathy, and tolerance.
  • The patient has the right to receive health information in a language they can understand, including information about the availability of medical services and the best ways to use them.

Choice of health services

Everyone has the right to choose their preferred healthcare facility for treatment or preferred healthcare provider for services. This should be aligned with the service delivery guidelines and standards.

Confidentiality and privacy

Health-related information, including details about treatments, may only be disclosed with the person’s informed consent, unless it is needed by law or a court order.

Informed consent

Everyone has the right to accurate information about their disease, diagnostic procedures, suggested treatments, and associated expenses before making a decision that might have an impact on any of these factors.

Refusal of treatment

A person has the right to refuse medical care verbally or in writing if doing so does not endanger their health or others. At the same time no healthcare provider can refuse you the right to treatment.

A second opinion

Everyone has the right to ask to be sent for a second opinion to a healthcare provider of their choosing. Getting a second opinion can assist you in choosing the best course of action.

Your responsibilities as a patient

  • Take responsibility of your own health
  • Make good use of the healthcare system and don’t misuse it.
  • Be familiar with the services offered by the local clinic.
  • Give accurate and useful information to medical experts for use in diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, or counselling.

Although these are not exhaustive of all the rights outlined in the Charter, they are the ones that address the most common questions and issues raised by you, Choma. Please take the time to download and understand what your rights are as a patient and the obligations of the health care provider to you.

It’s important to be aware of our rights as patients when visiting a healthcare facility. Share your experiences below.

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send a Facebook message or a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).