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9 Health Rights You Have as a Patient

(NC) Anyone seeing a regulated healthcare professional in Ontario can count on safety, competency, and ethics. These rights are upheld by the bodies that regulate over 300,000 health care professionals. These 26 colleges hold professionals accountable for their conduct and practice.

“The colleges help people understand their rights as patients,” explains Shenda Tanchak, president of the Federation of Health Regulatory Colleges of Ontario. “College rules and regulations mean that certain patient rights are expected and enforced.”

“Knowing your rights and what to expect helps you to get the most appropriate care and take action if that doesn’t happen,” says Tanchak. Remember these nine rights for your best care.

  1. You have a choice. Your health professional should explain treatment options and respect your decisions. You have the freedom to seek services or second opinions from any health professional.
  2. You’re in charge of your health. Your healthcare professional must have your informed consent before implementing any treatment. That means explaining any treatment and its benefits, risks, and alternatives. It’s up to you to agree to or refuse what happens next.
  3. Get clarity. You should be able to ask your practitioner anything about your health and get answers in plain language. Healthcare professionals who charge should also explain any fees or billings.
  4. Your information should stay confidential and private. It should be shared with other health professionals only for the purposes of providing you with care.
  5. Ethical lines shouldn’t be crossed. Healthcare professionals have a duty to put your needs and interests first. It’s up to them to maintain professional boundaries with patients and avoid anything that could cloud their judgment.
  6. Be open and honest. Many healthcare issues are sensitive. You should be able to reveal anything — from sexual health and practices to mental health issues — without being judged.
  7. Get quality care from qualified practitioners. Regulated healthcare professionals have an obligation to meet high standards and stay current in skills and knowledge throughout their careers.
  8. Learn more about your health professional. Every college maintains online registers where you can learn more about your healthcare professional. This includes whether there are any restrictions on their practice or any disciplinary decisions against them.
  9. Raise concerns about your care or treatment. Each college takes complaints seriously and has the authority to investigate and impose necessary disciplinary actions.