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Expressindia
17 July 2009
Pune, India

Pune A State–level patients’ rights forum, comprising people from various walks of life, has been set up.

Dr. Anant Phadke, senior adviser at Jan Arogya Abhiyan, told reporters on Thursday that organisations such as Aarogya.com, Rachana Trust, Saheli and Lokayat have come together to establish the forum, which will be officially launched on July 19 here, with its first meeting at Shramik Bhavan.

An e–petition has also been submitted to the State Health Minister Rajendra Shingne, which says the forum is planning to project patients’ rights as a poll issue ahead of the assembly elections in September, said Phadke.

“We believe that in doctor–patient relations, patients are inherently vulnerable. Thus, they should be protected with the help of a legally enforceable Standard Charter of Patients’ Rights. Establishing patients’ rights will impact our healthcare system in a significant and positive way,’ said the 200–odd petitioners. Several members of the Association for India’s development in the US have also sent their signatures on the e–petition.

Patients should know how and where to report any denial of their rights by a doctor, nursing home, hospital or other health facility, Phadke said. A participatory redressal mechanism for aggrieved patients, in the form of district–level committees, with government representatives, hospital owners, medical practitioners, consumer and health organisations, has been suggested, he said.

Phadke said the Maharashtra State Legislative Assembly amended the Bombay Nursing Home Registration Act in December 2005 to pave way for mandating minimum standards to be followed by nursing homes and hospitals, with the objective of ensuring minimum quality healthcare. A Charter of Patients’ Rights was included in the 2006 draft BNHRA rules (Section 16, Rule 14). However, these draft rules, which have been on the State Government’s website since July 2006, are yet to be approved.

Charter of patients’ rights
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