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Patients Bill Of Rights and the Nigerian Nurse Presented By NRS Nana Takai (RN, RPN, DL, BNSc, LLB, BL) At 2019 Annual Nurses Week Organised By NANNM
Date Posted: 15/May/2019

The patient’s bill of rights was first adopted by the America hospital in 1973 and revised October 1992.  Patient’s rights were developed with the expectation that hospitals and health care institutions would support these rights In the interest of delivering effective patient care to patients.

The patient’s bill of rights was created to try to reach these major goals;
1. To help patients feel more confident In the US health care system.
2. To stress the importance of a strong relationship between patients and their healthcare providers.
3. To stress the key role patients play in staying healthy by laying out rights and responsibility for all patients and health care providers.
*Information for patients—

The patients have the rights to accurate and easily understood information about their health plan, health care professionals and healthcare facilities.
* Choice of provider or plan
* Access to emergency services

* Taking part in treatment decisions

* Respect and non discrimination
 * Confidentiality (privacy) of health information
* Complaints and appeals
*Consumer responsibility

On July 31st 2018 vice president  Prof. Yemi Osibanjo launched in Abuja Nigeria first Patient bill of rights developed by the consumer protection council in collaboration with the federal ministry of health.

The patients bill of rights is an aggregation of patients rights by the consumer protection council that are enshrine in the constitution, covered by the CPC  Act, freedom of information Act, National health Act, and the hypocrite oath among others.

Patients bill of rights is a list of guarantees for those receiving medical care.  It guarantees information, fair treatment, and Autonomy over medical decisions among other rights.
The Nigeria patients’ bill of rights in summary spells out the following:-

It guarantees patients rights to information, urgent medical treatment, secured health care environment, to be treated with respect and timely access to medical care.

Irrespective of the background, religion or tribe, the PBOR guarantees fair treatment of patients and every patient can make his medical decisions.

It will eliminate quackery in the country health care sector as it will serve as weapon in the hand of patients to demand quality health care services from the providers and medical practitioners.

The bill brings a lot of awareness on patient’s rights; provide guide lines that can assist patients in making decisions regards healthcare and to support active participation in healthcare planning.  

The consumer protection council of Nigeria through the PBOR aggregated all the patients’ rights in a concise manner that gives them a clear understanding and would be available to organisations,

personnel, the patient, and his or her representatives, and the general public.
Here are the 12 rights every patient is entitled to:-
1. Right to relevant information
2. Right to timely access to medical records
3. Right to transparent billing
4. Right to privacy
5. Right to clean healthcare environment
6. Right to be treated with respect
7. Right to receive urgent care
8. Right to reasonable visitation
9. Right to decline care

10. Right to decline or accept to participate in medical research
11. Right to complain and express dissatisfaction regarding services received
12. Right to quality care.
Registered Nurses promote and restore health, prevent illness, and protect people entrusted to their care.
They work to alleviate the suffering experience by individual, families, group, and communities.

In so doing, nurses provide services that maintain respect for human dignity and embrace the uniqueness of each patient and the nature of his health problem. The Nurse must therefore ensure he keeps himself abreast with some provisions of relevant laws that have bearing on his practice as most of them give rise to and as well serve as supporting pillars on which some of these patients rights rest. Some of these laws include the Constitution, National health Act, NMC Act, Consumer protection Act, NHIS Act, etc. He should act within the scope of his professional practice bearing in mind the supporting professional ethics, core values and every item in the patient bill of rights.
Compliance with the above will not only keep the nurse out of trouble but will make health services in Nigeria desirable. Government should move a step forward and roll out health practitioners or Nurses bill of rights to balance the system and prevent abuse.


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