The Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety Director at the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) Dr Jamal Rashid Al Khanji, doing a presentation at the launch of 'Health Service Performance Agreements' by the SCH at the Four Seasons Hotel in Doha yesterday. Picture by: Salim Matramkot
By FAZEENA SALEEM
DOHA: The Supreme Council of Health (SCH) will soon issue a “patients’ bill of rights” that will clearly define the rights and responsibilities of patients seeking treatment at private and public healthcare facilities in the country.
The document will also serve as a reference while investigating complaints related to medical treatment and errors, a senior SCH official said yesterday.
“The rights of the patients are generally known but people have doubts about the tools and methods they can use while lodging a complaint against a doctor or a healthcare facility.
“For instance, many patients have no idea what documents and files they can access to prove their case.
“The bill of rights will specify these things with clarity and in detail,” Dr Jamal Rashid Al Khanji, Director of the Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety Department at SCH, told this daily yesterday.
Patients will be empowered to take a role in their safety.
The bill will specify whether a patient has the right to refuse treatment, seek a second opinion, and ask what treatment they are getting, among other issues, Dr Al Khanji explained.
“The document is ready and will be officially launched very soon. Its basic purpose is to educate patients on their rights and responsibilities,” he added.
“It will be made available in different languages, including English and Arabic, at all clinics, hospitals and other places for public reference.”
Dr Al Khanji said the bill will complement another SCH initiative to set up an advocacy body to assist and support patients.
He said SCH receives several complaints daily from different segments of society, related to public and private healthcare providers.
“We receive complaints about primary health centres, Hamad Medical Corporation and private clinics and hospitals. We investigate them and take actions.
“Patients have the right to lodge a complaint if they are not satisfied with services and the treatment they get from a healthcare provider,” said Dr Al Khanji.
SCH is also preparing to introduce a mandatory study course on patient safety for all licensed healthcare practitioners in the country.
The online course will be based on World Health Organisation’s patient safety guidelines.
“Even in the best healthcare systems in the world, patient safety is a big issue.
“It is one of the most important things that health systems concentrate on,” Dr Al Khanji added.