Here's What You Need to Know About the Patients’ Rights Charter | Western Cape Government

Here's What You Need to Know About the Patients’ Rights Charter

(The Government of South Africa)

For many decades most South Africans did not have access to proper health care services. To ensure all South Africans have access to basic health care, the Department of Health is using the Patients’ Rights Charter to uphold, promote and protect our rights to effective health services. 

Nurse Caring for Elderly Person
According to the National Patients' Rights Charter, every patient has the right to: 
  • A healthy and safe environment that will ensure their physical and mental health or well-being.
  • Take part in deciding on matters affecting one's health. 
  • Proper emergency care at any health care facility.
  • Treatment and rehabilitation.
  • Special needs care, especially newborn infants, children, pregnant women, the aged, disabled persons, patients with chronic pain, people living with HIV/AIDS.
  • Counselling without discrimination, intimidation or violence on matters such as reproductive health, cancer or HIV/AIDS.
  • Affordable and effective care for people in the final stages of their lives.
  • Friendly health care providers.
  • Health information in their language of choice.
  • Knowledge of health insurance and medical aid schemes.
  • Choose their own health care provider or health facility.
  • Be treated by a clearly identified health care provider.
  • Confidentiality and privacy concerning health care issues and treatment.
  • All information regarding their illnesses, treatment and the costs involved.
  • Refuse treatment verbally or in writing. 
  • Be referred for a second opinion to a healthcare professional of their choice.
  • Continuous care. 
  • Complain about health services, have their complaints investigated and to receive a full response.
Nurse at Hospital
All patients need to:
  • Take care of their health. 
  • Care for and protect the environment.
  • Respect the rights of other patients and health providers.
  • Use the health care system properly and not abuse it.
  • Know his or her local health service and what they offer.
  • Provide health care providers with the relevant and accurate information for diagnostic, treatment, rehabilitation or counselling purposes.
  • Advise the health care providers on his or her wishes regarding death.
  • Comply with treatment or rehabilitation procedures.
  • Ask about the related costs of the treatment and /or rehabilitation and arrange for payment.
  • Take care of any health records they may have.

Comprehensive health care is a joint responsibility between the patient and the medical team. To achieve better health results, patients must understand their illness, follow their treatment and discuss any concerns or disagreements they might have with their health care workers.


For more information or assistence of any kind, please contact the:

Western Cape Government Contact Centre:

  • Call: 0860 142 142
    - Monday to Sunday 07:00 - 19:00
    - cost of a local telephone call from anywhere in South Africa
  • Fax: 021 483 7216
  • SMS: Help to 31022  
  • Please Call Me: 079 769 1207
  • E-mail: service@westerncape.gov.za

Department of Health

  • Tel: 021 483 3245
  • Fax: 021 483 6169
The content on this page was last updated on 23 January 2015