How to enforce patients’ rights?

1. Health care service provider or its maintainer

According to the Health Care Act (Act CLIV. of 1997.) the health care service provider must inform the patient - upon admission or prior to the actual delivery of care, depending upon his state of health - of the rights of patients, of the possibilities of enforcing such rights and of the house rules (bylaws) of the institution.

A patient has the right to lodge a complaint regarding the health care service provided with the health service provider or the maintaining entity.

2. Patients’ Rights Advocates

A patient may ask for the assistance of the Patients’ Rights Advocate. According to Health Care Act, the Patients’ Rights Advocate represents the rights of patients defined in the Act and helps them become acquainted with and promote the relization of these rights.

3. Ethical Committee

Inpatient healthcare institutions have hospital ethic committees operating within them. One of the roles of the hospital ethics committee is to participate in enforcing patients’ rights.

4. Mediation Council

With a view to the resolution of legal disputes which may arise between a patient and a health service provider in out-of-court proceedings, the parties may jointly initiate the settlement of such legal disputes within the framework of mediation proceedings.

5. Administrative procedure

The complainant can address a request for administrative procedure to the supervisory organisation of the health care institute or the Ministry of Health which, independent of the legal grounds of the compensation, can examine the medical treatment being related with the concerned person’s disease.

6. Hungarian Medical Chamber

In matters of ethics and disciplinary procedures, a patient has the possibility to turn to the Medical Chamber.

In cases of a possible violation of ethical norms, the Hungarian Medical Chamber conducts its own hearing and disciplinary action.

7. Civil Court Procedure

A patient has the right to start civil court proceedings against the health care service provider. The regulations of Civil Code and the Law of Civil Procedure apply to the proceedings. (Act III. of 1952., Act. IV. of 1959.)

8. Criminal procedure

A patient may make criminal charge against the physician or other members of health care staff in cases of serious breaches of duty. (Act I. of 1973.)

9. Parliamentary Commissioner for Citizens’ Rights.

According to the Constitution and Act LIX. of 1993., it is the task of the Parliamentary Commissioner to have the abuses of constitutional rights investigated. The Office of the Ombudsman can conduct investigations if the decision, the procedure or the omission of some public authority or public service provider violates or jeopardises constitutional rights. Any citizen can lodge a complaint to the Office of the Ombudsman in cases of violation of patients’ rights by an authority.

10. Civil organizations

There are several civil organizations offering services to help patients enforcing their rights.

The Szószóló Foundation gives legal help to patients and provides information for any member of the public who requests it.

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