Delhi: Activists, Patients & Family Members March To Jantar Mantar Demanding Patients' Rights
To stop the exploitative practices of private hospitals, over 500 patients, their family members and health activists from across the country gathered at Jantar Mantar and demanded immediate implementation of National Human Rights Commission’s Charter for Patient Rights. Drafted by the Union Health Ministry, National Human Rights Commission’s Charter for Patient Rights talks about regulation of rates in private hospitals and creation of a patient-friendly grievance redressal mechanism to deal with complaints in private hospitals.
The protest was organized by Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, All India Patients Right Group, National Campaign for Right to Public Health, Mahila Pragati Manch, People for Better Treatment, and Delhi Network of Positive People.
What are their demands?
Women from low-income communities, people living with HIV, health professionals, and activists from Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and other states participated in the protest, The Hindu reported.
Protestors met with health ministry officials on Tuesday and demanded immediate adoption and implementation of the National Human Rights Commission’s Charter for Patient Rights. The rights specified by the unique document are as follows:
- Right to information, records, and reports
- Right to transparency in rates, and care according to prescribed rates where applicable
- Right to emergency medical care, proper referral, and transfer
- Right to informed consent, confidentiality, human dignity, privacy, and non-discrimination
- Right to safety and quality care according to standards
- Right to choose alternative treatment options and right to the second opinion
- Right to choose the source for obtaining medicines or tests when admitted in hospital
- Right to protection for patients involved in clinical trials and biomedical research
- Right to take discharge of a patient, or body of deceased, without being detained on procedural grounds
- Right to patient education, right to be heard and seek redressal
These rights are applicable to medical establishments and made public by the Health Ministry about six months ago, but since then it has not been implemented, The Wire says.
Meanwhile, government officials have given the protestors some assurance. Reportedly, one joint secretary told them that the “Health ministry may hold a consultation and then finalize and issue the charter as an advisory,” according to an organizer of Tuesday’s protest.
The official also said that the government “would accelerate the process of notifying standards for hospitals under the Clinical Establishments Act.”
The protestors shared their miserable stories at the protest who have been the victims of alleged malpractices of private hospitals. One of them was Shishir Chand, who has been fighting since 2011 when his brother suddenly died at the Tata Hospital in Jamshedpur. According to him, the Medical Council of India should include non-doctor and civil society members to save patients or their family members from overcharging and help in getting fair treatment in a negligence case.
In 2017, a heart-rending case of one of the elite hospitals of India came out when a young girl, Adya Singh who was suffering from dengue died due to exploitive tactics of Fortis Hospital while getting treatment. Her father, Jayant Singh, also was present at the protest and spoke to The Wire about how patient’s grievances are not being properly addressed.