[WATCH] Patients' charter proposes treatment timeframe, government to compensate private care

Parliamentary secretary for health Chris Fearne announces public consultation for proposed patient charter to outline timeframes for treatment

Parliamentary health secretary Chris Fearne
Parliamentary health secretary Chris Fearne
Parliamentary secretary Chris Fearne launches draft Patients' Charter. Video: Raphael Farrugia

A proposed patient charter will propose a timeframe for patients to be operated on and receive urgent care, parliamentary health secretary Chris Fearne said.

Speaking at a press conference, Fearne said that under the proposed charter, in cases of urgent operations or conditions that can become an emergency, or life threatening, care must be initiated in eight weeks.

“For elective surgeries like knee and hip replacements, care must begin within 18 months,” he added.

“If care is not initiated within the timeframes, then the patient will have a right to seek treatment at a private hospital, with the government forking out costs for treatment.”

Fearne explained that timeframes were also set out for treatment at the Accident and Emergency department with timeframes for patients to be assessed by doctors at an average of two hours.

“The length of stay of discharged patients and time to transfer to an in-patient bed at hospital at an average of six hours.”

Fearne added that the proposals were launched in a consultation document to run for the next two months, and that the charter will apply a year after the it is officially published to give the hospital time to adapt.

“Patients will also be given a right to medical opinion, as well as access to their full medical files,” he said, adding that they will also be allowed to refuse consent for photos that need to be taken and used for teaching purposes.

The charter also stipulates that personal health information to be given to relatives and receive care in a manner that is irrespective to age gender belief sexuality or nationality, and to request ritual and religious support when admitted into a hospital.

More in Health