Back in 2002, the Active Citizenship Network (ACN), www.activecitizenship.net, along with 12 other European organisations, drew up the European Charter of Patient Rights. It is a document listing 14 patient rights with the collective purpose of guaranteeing a ‘high protection level of human health’ (Article 35 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights) and securing quality of care from public health services around Europe. It constitutes the foundation of Fundamental rights and should be recognised and respected in every country. These are obligations and responsibilities of citizens but most significantly all involved in providing health services, both in the public and private sectors. The Charter is applicable to all, recognizing the universal truth that differences such as age, sex, religion, socio-economic status and other factors have an effect on individual needs when providing health services.
- RIGHT TO PREVENTION
Every individual has the right to health services that can prevent illnesses.
- RIGHT TO ACCESS
Every individual has the right of access to services that are necessary for the condition of their health at that particular time. Health services must secure equal access to all, without discrimination connected to financial situation, place of residence, nature of illness or time required.
- RIGHT TO INFORMATION
Every individual has the right of access to all information relating to the nature of their health, the services provided, the way it which they can be utilized, as well as scientific research and technological innovations that are available and connected to their condition.
- RIGHT TO CONSENT
Every individual has the right of access to any kind of information that could contribute to their active participation in decision-making regarding their health. Essentially, this secures their legitimate consent to any such decision. Being informed of how their health is developing and any decision affecting body and mind, is a condition for any treatment action or procedure, including participation in clinical trials.
- RIGHT TO FREE CHOICE
Every individual has the right to decide freely between various treatment options as well as the different health services professionals that provide them with these options, in a complete and truthful manner.
- RIGHT TO DISCRETION AND CONFIDENTIALITY
Every individual has the right of keeping their personal information confidential, including records of his health condition, potential diagnostic or treatment procedures, as well as protecting privacy during diagnostic tests, visits to specialists and medical or surgical procedures as a whole.
- RIGHT OF RESPECT TO PATIENTS’ TIME
Every individual has the right of receiving the required treatment within a short and predetermined length of time. This applies to every stage of the relevant treatment.
- RIGHT TO MAINTAIN QUALITY OF SERVICE
Every individual has the right of enjoying high quality health services, based on certain specifications and maintaining adherence to particular standards.
- RIGHT TO SAFETY
Every individual has the right to treatment of any injury or harm incurred as a result of health services inadequacies and medical mistakes, as well as access to services and treatments with high safety standards.
- RIGHT TO INNOVATION
Every individual has the right of access to innovative procedures, including diagnostics, according to international standards and irrespective of financial situation and capacity.
- RIGHT TO AVOID UNNECESSARY DISCOMFORT AND PAIN
Every individual has the right to ensure they avoid discomfort and pain as much as that is possible, at every stage of their illness.
- RIGHT TO PERSONALIZED TREATMENT
Every individual has the right to diagnostic or treatment methods that are adapted to their personal needs to the degree it is medically feasible and practical.
- RIGHT TO COMPLAIN
Every individual has the right to complain anytime they have suffered injury from a medical procedure or diagnosis and subsequently the right to a response or any other information relevant to their complaint by the health services involved.
- RIGHT TO COMPENSATION
Every individual has the right to adequate compensation within a reasonable amount of time, following any physical, ethical or psychological injury resulting from a medical action by a health service.