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Petition for Patients' Rights in Meghalaya

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To, Dr. Mukul Sangma, Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Government of Meghalaya Subject: Petition for Adoption of Standard Charter of Patients' Rights in Meghalaya. Honourable Mr. Sangma, We believe that in Doctor-Patient relations, patients are inherently vulnerable to becoming victims of faults, imperfections, shortcomings, or inadequacy in quality, nature and manner of performance of the medical services rendered by a hospital and or member of the medical profession. As you may be aware, that the majority of the population in Meghalaya falls under the low socio-economic and educational status and coupled with challenges of accessibility and poor quality of services, makes people vulnerable to exploitation, oppression and mistreatment by the medical care givers. Hence, there is a need for effective legal provisions to protect patients' rights. Establishing patient rights through a legally enforceable Standard Charter of Patients' Rights will impact our health care system in a significant and positive way. Rights are correlated with both duties and responsibilities. All hospitals and health centers should adopt such a Standard Charter of Patient's Rights. In order to create awareness among the staff, patients and the visitors in hospitals and other centers, a display of the translated version of the said Rights into the local language(s) be done in the prominent location in the hospitals and centers. Printed copies of the same, be made available whenever on demand. Utmost emphasis be made on all hospital staff for strict observance and execution of the Rights. Patients should know how and where to report on any denial of these rights by a doctor and staffs in nursing homes, hospitals and other health centers. It may be advisable that a participatory redressal mechanism in the form of District level Committees be formed having representatives from the government, hospital owners, medical practitioners, and consumer and health organisations, so that any aggrieved persons could approach if required. Medical staff or institutions found to be violating these rights should be subject to a fine or cancellation of registration. In this context, we humbly request your kind office to give your support and take the necessary actions. We look forward to your early response to make Patients' Rights a reality for the people of Meghalaya, and thus set an example for the country.

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