Health care rights
Everyone who is seeking or receiving care in the South Australian health system has rights about their care. Patients, consumers, carers, healthcare providers and health service organisations all have an important part to play in achieving healthcare rights and contributing to safe and high quality healthcare.
Your rights include:
- Access – right to access health and community services
- Safety – right to be safe from abuse
- Quality – right to high quality services
- Respect – right to be treated with respect
- Information – right to be informed
- Participation – right to actively participate
- Privacy – right to privacy and confidentiality
- Comment – right to comment and or/complain
SA Health has developed the Charter of Health and Community Services Rights Policy Directive (PDF 205KB), to implement legislation as Part 3 of the Health and Community Services Complaints Act 2004 includes a Charter of Health and Community Services Rights (the HCSCC Charter), which substantially incorporates the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights 2008.
The Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner (HCSCC) in South Australia developed the HCSCC Charter of Health and Community Services Rights (the HCSCC Charter).
The HCSCC Charter was developed following consultation with service users, carers and health and community service providers in 2010. The HCSCC Charter substantially incorporates the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights 2008.
The HCSCC Charter sets out the rights of all people who use most health and community services in South Australia and to the family members, carers and nominees who act on behalf of a person seeking or using a service.
Services include a wide range of health and community services in the public, private and non-government sectors.
The HCSCC Charter has five guiding principles relevant to all eight HCSCC Charter rights.
The HCSCC Charter of Rights consumer information sheets and brochures are also available in a number of languages. See the translated HCSCC brochures section on the HCSCC website.
- Access – Right to access health and community services. Consumers have a right to access health and community services that meet their identified needs.
- Safety – Right to be safe from abuse. Consumers have a right to be safe from abuse, or the risk of abuse, and to have their legal and human rights respected and upheld. Consumer have a right to receive services free from discrimination and harassment.
- Quality – Right to receive safe, reliable, coordinated services that are appropriate to their needs and are provided with care, skill and competence. Services consumers receive should comply with legal, professional, ethical and other relevant standards. Any incidents involving consumers are managed openly to ensure improvements.
- Respect – Right to be treated with respect. Consumers have a right to be treated with courtesy, dignity and respect. Consumers have a right to receive services that respect their culture, beliefs, values and personal characteristics.
- Information – Right to be informed. Consumers have a right to open, clear and timely communication about services, treatment, options and costs in a way consumers can understand. When needed, consumers have the right to a competent professional interpreter.
- Participation – Right to actively participate. Consumers have a right to be involved in decisions and choices about services planned and received. Consumers have a right to support and advocacy so that consumers can participate. Consumers have a right to seek advice or information from other sources. Consumers have a right to give, withhold or withdraw their consent at anytime.
- Privacy – Right to privacy and confidentiality. Consumers have a right to have their privacy respected and their person information kept confidential and secure. Personal information about the consumer may not be disclosed without their consent, unless the disclosure is required to lessen or prevent a serious threat to life, wellbeing, or safety or is required by law. Consumers have a right to request and gain access to their records, unless there is legal restriction in place. Consumers can nominate person/s with whom information can be shared.
- Comment – Right to comment and / or complain. Consumers have a right to be listened to and to comment on, or make a complaint about services sought or provided to them. Consumers have a right to have their complaint dealt with properly and promptly, and without retribution as a result of having made a complaint. Consumers have a right to a representative of their choice to support and advocate for them when making a complaint. Consumer feedback and complaints are managed openly to ensure improvements.
- Diversity: South Australian society is made up of people with different cultures, needs, values and ways of life and this is to be recognised and respected.
- Decision making capacity: Some people may have impaired capacity to make decisions due to illness, injury, disability or development. Impaired capacity may be temporary or permanent, partial or complete. If a person has impaired decision making capacity, the service provider should enable supported decision making. If a person has impaired decision making capacity, the service provider must involve or seek the consent of a substitute decision maker, including a carer. Individuals with impaired decision making capacity must not be disadvantaged in the provision of health or community services.
- Partnership: A genuine partnership between consumers, carers and providers promotes safe, high quality services and the best possible outcomes. This requires sharing relevant information and treating each other with respect.
- Provider contribution: Providers of health and community services are recognised for their contribution to the healthcare, well-being and welfare of individuals.
- Authority: Some rights can be affected when legal processes or orders are in place.