The Patient Rights (Scotland) Act 2011 was passed by the Parliament in February 2011 and gained Royal Assent in March 2011.
The Act aims to improve patients' experiences of using health services and to support people to become more involved in their health and health care.
The Act, which will help us to meet our aspiration for an NHS which respects the rights of both patients and staff, from April 2012 gives all patients:
- The right that the health care they receive should consider their needs, consider what would be of optimum benefit to them, encourage them to take part in decisions about their health and wellbeing, and provide information and support for them to do so
- It also provides a right to give feedback (both positive and negative) or comments, or raise concerns or complaints about the health care they have received. The Act also requires that Health Boards encourage, monitor and learn from the feedback and complaints they receive. Good Practice Guidance has been issued to NHS Boards setting out what is required and giving advice on how to handle and learn from feedback and complaints.
- It also establishes and provides access for patients and members of the public to the independent Patient Advice and Support Service (PASS) which will provide information and help raise awareness and understanding their rights and responsibilities when using health services. PASS will also be able to help and support patients to give feedback about their healthcare and direct them to other types of support, such as advocacy or communication support services.
The Schedule to the Act sets out that people who provide NHS health care (such as doctors, nurses, dentists) must from April 2012 take into account a set of Health care Principles when providing services. The schedule includes sections on Patient Focus; Quality Care and Treatment; Patient Participation; Communication; Patient Feedback; and Waste of Resources.
The Act also made provision for the introduction in October 2012 of:
- A Charter of Patient Rights and Responsibilities which brings together, in one place, a summary of the rights and responsibilities that patients have when using NHS services. A summary version of the Charter and a set uf seven supporting factsheets are also available. We will review and update the Charter at least once every five years.
- The introduction of a 12 Week Treatment Time Guarantee whereby eligible patients who are receiving planned treatment provided on an inpatient or day-case basis will not wait longer than 12 weeks from the date that the treatment is agreed to the start of that treatment. Some examples of this could include hip or knee replacements, hernias, or cataracts.
Action to deliver the rights and principles should be proportionate and appropriate to the circumstances and should balance the rights of individual patients with the effects on the rights of other patients. It should also take into account resources available and the responsibility of the Health Board to use resources efficiently and effectively.
Contaminated Blood – the Skipton Fund
The Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Act 2005 set up a scheme which allowed ex-gratia payments to be made to, or in respect of, people who had been infected with hepatitis C through NHS treatment. This scheme is called The Skipton Fund.
An amendment to the Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Act 2005, made through the Patient Rights (Scotland) Act 2011, gives Scottish Ministers the power, if they wish to do so, to widen the eligibility criteria for those making a claim from the Skipton Fund.