What are your rights?
You have guaranteed rights as a patient of the NHS. It is important that you know these rights and use them. The NHS has published a Patient Charter, which sets out your rights and the standard of service you should expect to receive locally.
- To receive health care on the basis of clinical need, regardless of your income. Everyone has the same right to equal treatment by the NHS, regardless of race, sex, age, disability or sexual orientation
- To be registered with a GP. Information about practices in your area is available from the local Health Board. You can ask for a practice leaflet from any GP practice. This should tell you about the practice and the services offered
- To receive emergency medical care at any time through your GP or the emergency ambulance service and via hospital accident and emergency department. Many of the community hospitals in our area have casualty departments. Alternatively, patients can contact their GP for casualty services. Patients with serious emergencies should use the 999 emergency departments
- To be referred to a consultant acceptable to you, when your GP thinks it is necessary, and to be referred for a second opinion if you and your GP agree this is desirable. GPs are responsible for referring patients to hospital-based specialists. You should discuss with your GP if you want a particular consultant. You can ask your GP for a second opinion and he/she will discuss this with you. If you want a second opinion about GP care, you can ask to see another GP in the practice
- To be given a clear explanation of what is wrong with you and of any treatment proposed, including risks and alternatives. You also have the right to give to withhold consent to medical treatment. It is important that you feel free to ask questions about your care and your treatment. You can take a friend or relation with you to help get or better understand an explanation
- To have access to your health records and to know that those working in the NHS are under a legal duty to keep the contents confidential. You can ask to see/obtain a copy of your own medical records stored on a computer, or written health records (NHS or private after November 1991). You may also see any medical reports prepared by your doctor or insurer before they are sent on and for six months after the date of the report
- To choose whether or not you wish to be examined or treated by a medical student and to choose whether or not to take part in medical trials. You should always be asked in advance about medical students or medical research. This may not always happen and you should be aware that you can refuse and are free to withdraw at any time
- To be guaranteed admission for treatment by a specific date, no later than 12 months from the day your consultant places you on a waiting list. You should never have to wait more than 12 months for in-patient or daycare treatments. The Health Board is responsible for ensuring that the guarantee times are met, if necessary, by offering you treatment in an alternative hospital
- To have any complaint about any aspect of your care taken seriously and acted upon promptly. You should make your concerns known to the practice manager. You can also contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau or your Health Board. The Ombudsman generally only considers complaints only when they have been fully considered. The Ombudsman’s contact details are: The Scottish Public Service Ombudsman, Freepost EH641, Edinburgh, EH3 0BR. Telephone 0800 377 7370, or click on their link at Scottish Ombudsman. For further information on the complaints procedure please ask the receptionist for a Patient Information Leaflet
What are your Responsibilities?
The Patients Charter sets out the commitments that the NHS makes to you as a patient. To ensure the smooth running of health services and to ensure services are effective an efficient, patients too have certain responsibilities. These are set out in the sections below.
- Please keep appointments
- Please try to arrive on time
- If you are unable to attend an appointment, please inform the clinic or surgery in good time
- If you are given an appointment time or date which is unsuitable, please telephone to change it. Remember, if you continue to default your appointments, you may be removed from the list
- Please ensure your address is correct. If you move house, change address or the postcode is changed, please inform your doctor’s surgery or outpatient clinic and the Health Board