The word ‘patient’ has not been defined anywhere under Indian Law. However, the term covers those people who receive healthcare services by doctors or medical professionals. The Government including state governments have a duty to provide healthcare services and improving public health.1.
Laws governing Patient Rights
The laws governing rights of people who approach healthcare establishments or medical professionals in India include:
- The Constitution of India, 1950
- Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002
- Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940
- Clinical Establishment(Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010
- Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
These laws guide medical health professionals in maintaining a standard of care and treatment of patients. Since there is no specific legislation covering patient rights in India, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and the National Human Rights Commission released the Charter of Patient Rights. Further, this contains the rights protecting patients who access medical care. These include:
- Article 42, Constitution of India, 1950; Entry 6, List II, Schedule VII, Constitution of India, 1950