Quality service provision
All patients are provided with the best possible service commensurate with medical knowledge and available technology. These services are provided while duly respecting the human dignity and autonomy of each patient, without any distinction on the basis of social class, sexual orientation or philosophical conviction. Care with a view to preventing, treating and alleviating physical and psychological pain forms an integral part of the patient's treatment.
Freedom to choose a healthcare practitioner
The patient personally chooses a healthcare practitioner and can reconsider that choice at all times. In some cases the law or circumstances peculiar to the healthcare can restrict that freedom of choice (e.g. mandatory admission of a person with a mental illness and where there is only one specialist in a hospital). On the other hand, every healthcare practitioner can refuse to provide a patient with services for personal or practitioner reasons, except in cases of emergency. If the healthcare practitioner stops providing treatment, (s)he must guarantee continuity of care.
Information on one’s personal health condition
The healthcare practitioner provides the patient with all the information necessary to gain an understanding of his/her health condition (i.e. the diagnosis) and its probable evolution. The healthcare practitioner also indicates recommended future behaviour (e.g. there are certain pregnancy-related risks).
Consent for each intervention performed by the healthcare practitioner, with foregoing information
Before starting treatment, a healthcare practitioner attending to a patient must obtain such patient's voluntary and informed consent for the treatment. This means that the healthcare practitioner must have adequately informed the patient of the characteristics of the intervention. If it is impossible to procure the consent of the patient or that of his representative (e.g. in the case of an emergency), the healthcare practitioner provides all the necessary treatment and states this in the health records.
Carefully updated health records, including the possibility of perusal and obtaining a copy
The healthcare practitioner duly keeps the health records up to date for each patient, which (s)he (the healthcare practitioner) keeps in a safe place. If the patient chooses to have another healthcare practitioner, (s)he can request that his/her health records be transferred to guarantee continuity of care.
You can also request a copy of your health records. This request is possible in 2 ways:
Protection of privacy
Subject to the patient’s consent, only the persons whose presence is professionally justified may be present during treatment or an examination. No information whatsoever on the patient’s state of health can be communicated to third persons, unless this is expressly provided for by law.
Lodging a complaint with the competent ombudsman
A person can lodge a complaint with a local ombudsman or Federal Ombudsman Service when (s)he is of the opinion that one of his/her rights as a patient has been infringed. The person concerned can have a confidant whom (s)he has designated assist him/her in this matter.
Third parties who exercise the right of patients