Rights and Responsibilities of Health Service Consumers
The following is a list of the rights and responsibilities of consumers of health services.
Rights to ‘Informed Consent’
The consumer of health services has the right to have a doctor or other health professional explain, in terms the consumer understands:
- the condition, problem or disease;
- the treatment or procedure to be followed, including details of alternative procedures, and all the risks or side-effects involved;
- the costs of any procedure proposed, including any further costs associated with rehabilitation;
- the health care system, including details of support services.
The consumer of health care services also has the right to:
- withdraw consent at any time;
- refuse experimental or research treatment;
- obtain a second opinion;
- have details of a condition and treatment kept confidential by medical and hospital staff;
- leave a hospital at any time (except in the cases of infectious diseases or certain psychiatric conditions), although if the patient leaves without hospital consent, the patient is liable for any injury or illness caused or aggravated by their action;
- be treated with care, consideration and dignity;
- request medical files from a doctor;
- exercise any of these rights on behalf of a child or ward if they are the parent or guardian;
- ask to stay with a child at all times except where separation is necessary for medical reasons; and
- inform nursing staff if they do not want to see, or speak to, a visitor or caller.
Consumers of health care services have a responsibility to:
- know their own medical history including medications taken;
- keep appointments or advise those concerned if they are unable to do so;
- comply with the treatment supplied;
- inform the doctor if they are receiving treatment from another health professional;
- know what their private insurance will cover because private patients are responsible for doctors’ and hospital charges; and
- conduct themselves in a manner which will not interfere with the well being or rights of other patients or staff.