NHS and other care services patients have been told that they need to fight for their rights, according to a new watchdog body.
Healthwatch England has urged the public to become “savvy consumers” rather than “grateful patients”. They have set out eight core rights for patients.
To help achieve that, the organisation has set out its list of rights:
• the right to essential services
• the right to access
• the right to a safe, dignified and quality service
• the right to information and education
• the right to choose
• the right to be listened to
• the right to be involved
• the right to live in a healthy environment
This has come after polling indicated half of people who experienced poor care did not report it. A survey of more than 2,000 found that one in five had experienced poor care, however of those people only 54% had complained, reports the BBC.
Healthwatch England has been created due to the NHS shake-up earlier this year. It is believed that the organisation will act as a patients' champion, carrying out investigations and speaking out about issues of concern.
Healthwatch England chairwoman Anna Bradley said: “We all need to stop acting like grateful patients and care users and start to see ourselves as savvy consumers, insisting on our right to safe, dignified and high quality care.”
Ms Bradley added: “Consumer rights are second nature to us on the High Street, but by thinking this way we can ensure people have a voice at the heart of the health and social care system.”
Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said he welcomed the initiative.
“Without real and meaningful input from patients, it is impossible for health and care services to improve and move forward in the future,” he added.