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For many decades the vast majority of the South African population has experienced either a denial or violation of fundamental human rights, including the rights to health care services. To ensure the realisation of the right of access to health care services as guaranteed in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (Act No 108 of 1996), the Department of Health is committed to upholding, promoting and protecting this right and therefore proclaims this PATIENTS’ RIGHTS CHARTER as a common standard for achieving the realisation of this right.
This Charter is subject to the provisions of any law operating within the Republic of South Africa and to the financial means of the country.
A healthy and safe environment
Everyone has the right to a healthy and safe environment that will ensure their physical and mental health or well-being, including adequate water supply, sanitation and waste disposal as well as protection from all forms of environmental danger, such as pollution, ecological degradation or infection.
Participation in decision-making
Access to healthcare
Everyone has the right of access to health care services that include:
Knowledge of one’s health insurance/medical aid scheme
A member of a health insurance or medical aid scheme is entitled to information about that insurance or medical aid scheme and to challenge, where necessary, the decisions of such health insurance or medical aid scheme relating to the member.
Choice of health services
Everyone has the right to choose a particular health care provider for services or a particular health facility for treatment provided that such choice shall not be contrary to the ethical standards applicable to such health care providers or facilities, and the choice of facilities in line with prescribed service delivery guide lines.
Be treated by a named health care provider
Everyone has the right to know the person that is providing health care and therefore must be attended to by clearly identified health care providers.
Confidentiality and privacy
Information concerning one’s health, including information concerning treatment may only be disclosed with informed consent, except when
required in terms of any law or an order of the court.
Refusal of treatment
A person may refuse treatment and such refusal shall be verbal or in writing provided that such refusal does not endanger the health of
Be referred for a second opinion
Everyone has the right to be referred for a second opinion on request to a health provider of one’s choice.
Continuity of care
No one shall be abandoned by a health care professional worker or a health facility which initially took responsibility for one’s health.
Complain about health services
Everyone has the right to complain about health care services and to have such complaints investigated and to receive a full response on such investigation.