Not discharging a patient or declining to hand over a body to relatives by hospitals over payment disputes has become an offence after the minister of health Dr Jane Ruth Aceng signed a charter on patients’ and health providers’ rights. A patient charter is a document that defines the rights and responsibilities of patients and health providers.
According to the Charter, hospitals cannot detain a patient in the hospital and not allow him or her to take discharge over procedural grounds such as dispute in payment of hospital charges.
The charter states that it is duty of the hospital to not wrongfully confine any patient, or dead body of a patient, treated in the hospital under any circumstance.
“The patient shall have the right to shorten the length of their stay. The patient shall have the right to be discharged or the caretakers to take the dead body and may not be detained at the health facility because of procedural reasons or pay disputes,” reads the document.
According to the health ministry, the patient shall have the right to choose where they purchase medicines and care, not necessarily in the health facility where they are being treated. Patients and doctors share the decision-making responsibility.
“Health facilities should have at least one of the following avenues of communication accessible to patients: suggestion boxes, toll-free telephone contact, internet-based services: email address, WhatsApp, Facebook, A feedback focal person should be available at the service delivery unit to facilitate this process,” read the documents.
Patients are called upon to refrain from lying about their health conditions, using verbal abuse or physical violence against health service providers or other patients.