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09.08.2005 General News

GHS re-launches documents on patients' rights

By GNA

Accra, Aug. 9, GNA - Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa, Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), on Tuesday called on health management teams to re-enforce the contents of the three documents that ensured patients' rights and code of ethics for health professionals to improve on the quality of service delivery.

He said it was unfortunate that many people, including health professionals themselves, had little knowledge about the documents, which were formally launched in 2002, and this had led to legal suits against some health institutions.

Prof. Akosa made the call when he re-launched the three documents - Code of Ethics; Patient's Charter and Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures - published by GHS in Accra.

The documents, which were published in 2002 and 2003, are meant to improve service delivery; rights and responsibilities of health professionals and patients.

The Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures also spell out the various categories of offences and penalties. There have been increased complaints and legal suits against health institutions and health professionals, who were not living up to expectation.

Prof. Akosa said the GHS required collaboration between health workers, patients and society, thus the attainment of optimal health care was dependent on teamwork.

He said health professionals should show empathy to patients adding, "you should always put yourselves in the shoes of your patients and accord them all the respect due them".

He admitted that there had been many instances where patient's rights had been abused leading to legal suits against some health institutions.

Prof. Akosa said it was the responsibility of health professionals to offer the best care to patients and pledged "we will learn our own code of ethics to offer the best quality health care to our clients". He also cautioned that health personnel should not extort money from patients saying that whoever would be found in that act would be punished.

Prof. Akosa also appealed to patients to also respect health professionals and treat them with decorum.

"There have been instances when health staff have been beaten up and some insults rained on them and I condemn such acts because that is not the best way to settle matters."

Hajia Mariama Sulemani, Chief Nursing Officer, and Mr Yaw Brobbey-Mpiani, Head, Administration Unit, Health Administration and Support Services Division all of GHS, who made presentations on the three documents, said the documents addressed the privacy and confidentiality of information, patient's right to second opinion, respect of patient's dignity and complying with prescribed treatment, among other things.

They stressed the need for all health institutions and individuals to have copies of the documents and the need to carry the message to schools and the communities to ensure better health care delivery.

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