The proposed Patients’ Bill of Rights (PBoR) has been launched by the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) as its ‘boldest step yet in soft infrastructure in healthcare’. The CPC, other stakeholders, and the Federal Ministry of Health, have developed the PBoR for the protection of consumers. The PBoR is an aggregate list of rights and responsibilities that guarantees adequate information to patients, fair treatment and autonomy over medical decisions.
Patients’ rights as outlined in the PBoR include access to record of the identity, skills and credentials of treating professionals and care providers; right to be treated with respect and dignity without prejudice to gender, religion, race, ethnicity, allegation of crime, geographical location, disability or socio-economic circumstances; right to receive urgent, immediate and sufficient intervention and care in the event of an emergency; right to be informed of impending interruption or disengagement of services; and the right to decline participation in medical research, experimental procedure or clinical trials in the course of treatment.
According to the PBoR, providers have the responsibility to inform a patient whether the proposed treatment or procedure is experimental or part of an on-going research. It is also part of the provider’s responsibility to deliver care that minimizes risks and harm to patients including preventable injury and errors.
Given the capacity of the PBoR to resolve some challenges existing in the country’s healthcare delivery system, we hope that that the federal lawmakers will prioritize the passage of the PBoR.
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Adepetun Caxton-Martins Agbor & Segun
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