Why the charter has been developed
The Patient Rights (Scotland) Act 2011 was passed by the Scottish Parliament on 24 February 2011 and received royal assent on 31 March 2011. Under the act, Scottish Ministers must publish a Charter of Patient Rights and Responsibilities which summarises the existing rights and responsibilities of people who use NHS services and receive NHS care in Scotland.
The act gives everyone the right to receive healthcare that:
- considers their needs;
- considers what would most benefit their health and wellbeing; and
- encourages them to take part in decisions about their health and wellbeing, and gives them the information and support to do so.
It also gives patients a right to give feedback and make comments, and raise concerns or complaints about the care they have received.
What the charter does
The Charter of Patient Rights and Responsibilities (the 'charter') summarises what you are entitled to when you use NHS services and receive NHS care in Scotland, and what you can do if you feel that your rights have not been respected.
The charter also explains what is expected of you when using the NHS in Scotland. Some of your responsibilities are set out in law. Others are what everyone is expected to do to help the NHS work effectively in Scotland and to help make sure it uses its resources responsibly.
The charter supports the principle of mutual respect - that is, everyone who uses and provides NHS services has a right to be treated as an individual and with consideration, dignity and respect.
The information in the charter is divided into the following areas
- Accessing and using NHS services in Scotland: your rights when using NHS health services.
- Communication and involving you: your rights to be informed about your healthcare and services and to be involved in decisions about them.
- Privacy and confidentiality: your rights to privacy and to have your personal health information protected.
- Feedback, complaints and my rights: your rights to have a say about your treatment or care and to have any concerns and complaints dealt with.
Who can use the charter
The charter is for everyone who accesses and uses NHS services and support in any part of Scotland. That includes patients, their carers, family members and NHS staff.
What we mean by NHS services
Throughout the charter, the terms 'NHS services' and 'NHS staff' refer to the services provided by your local health board and the staff they employ, special health boards, the Common Services Agency (known as National Services Scotland), and Healthcare Improvement Scotland where appropriate. This will normally include those who provide NHS primary care services (for example GPs, dentists, opticians and pharmacists) and their staff.
Find out more about the NHS in Scotland and your local health board on the NHS Scotland website (www.scot.nhs.uk).
While the health board is responsible for delivering health services, integration authorities are responsible for planning and commissioning delegated services in their areas. To integrate health and social care, staff from the health board, local authority and third-sector (voluntary and charity) organisations need to work together to provide joined-up, person-centred services (care which responds to an individual's personal circumstances, values, needs and preferences).