A survey of 1000 adults conducted by The Patients Association – an independent research organisation based in Wales – suggests that the majority of NHS patients believe they have more rights than they actually do.
The report, The Public Perception of Patient Rights Within the UK NHS, states the following findings:
“90% of the UK public (incorrectly) believe that they are entitled to receive enough information to take their medicines properly.”
“67% of the public (incorrectly) believe that NHS patients have the right to be treated, or to have an operation, before their condition worsens.”
“90% of the public (incorrectly) believe that the NHS gives patients the right to be treated in a hospital that meets government standards.”
“80% of the public (incorrectly) believe that they are entitled to receive information about the quality of the performance of the hospital they are due to attend.”
“75% of the public (incorrectly) believe that they have the right to information about the potential choices of treatment for their condition.”
“75% of the public (incorrectly) believe that they have a right to a second opinion on the NHS.”
“75% of the public (incorrectly) believe that they have the right to be protected against medical error while attending hospital.”
“50% of the public (incorrectly) believe that they have the right to receive information about the quality and performance of their GP.”
Simon Williams, Director of Policy at The Patients Association, said: “The findings of this survey are disturbing. Clearly, the public believes that the NHS gives them many rights as patients – when, in fact, patients in this country possess only a few entitlements.”
Bill Walden-Jones, Chief Executive of Welsh mental health charity Hafal, stated: “The report confirms that we’re behind a number of countries in terms of patients’ rights, and it suggests that the public wants more information about the service they receive.
“As a patient-led organisation we are extremely concerned about this. We will continue to campaign on rights to early treatment – particularly in the face of the proposed Mental Health Bill that conspicuously omits these rights. We will also be publishing information on medications for schizophrenia so that patients can be better informed, and better able to take part in the decisions made about their treatment.”
For more information on the survey, go to the Patients Association website.
For more information on the NHS in Wales, click here.