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Consumer council moves to check rights abuse in hospitals

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Consumer council moves to check rights abuse in hospitals

Ifeanyi Onuba, Abuja

The Consumer Protection Council on Sunday said it has commenced a process for the formulation of an acceptable guideline to regulate interaction between patients and medical doctors in the country.

The proposed guide to be known as Patients’ Bill of Rights is being done in collaboration with the Nigerian Medical Association.

A statement from the council said the Patients’ Bill of Rights would enable the agency identify rights and privileges in a patient-care giver relationship for the protection of consumers.

It said the Council and the medical association agreed to develop the guide when the President of NMA, Professor Mike Ogirima led members of his Executive team to pay a courtesy call on the Director General of the Council, Babatunde Irukera.

The statement from the CPC stated that a Standing Committee, drawing membership from the association and the consumer protection agency, was created at the meeting to immediately advance the finalisation of the document.

It added that the committee would also expand key areas of collaboration for the promotion of high standards of care and patients’ protection.

It quoted the CPC DG to have said: “We need to ensure people know their rights – the right to information, proper explanation of their medical situation in a language they understand; the right to control decision-making with respect to their treatment regiment; the right to know when to, where to and how to secure a second opinion, if desired.

“Your industry does not permit any error. The legal industry to which I belong provides successful appeals as many other industries also have built-in redundancies; this is not the case in medicine, which although investigative, requires absolute precision.

“It is tragic that doctors can go on strike. I recognise the fundamentals that are subjects of some of the strikes. However, I have never been able to reconcile the potential and irreversible loss that can and does happen when these strikes occur.

“One needless permanent injury or death is one too much. We must not trivialize life. I think the rightful partner in reinforcing that message of sanctity of life is the Nigerian Medical Association. For many, saving lives is a motto, but in medicine, it is an obligation.”

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