Oman health: Majlis Al Shura weighs proposal for patient protection

Business Sunday 08/May/2016 23:00 PM
By: Times News Service
Oman health: Majlis Al Shura weighs proposal for patient protection

Muscat: Patients and their rights are currently in the spotlight as the Majlis Al Shura studies a proposal to introduce a special law to protect patients in Oman.
“There is no law for the protection of patients in Oman. Therefore, we are now studying the possibility of introducing a law which will protect patients, Hilal Al Sarmi, member of the Health Committee at the Majlis Al Shura, said during an exclusive interview with the Times of Oman.
He noted that patients are often left in the dark when they are refused treatment or are given the wrong treatment. He added that he has heard many patients complain of being treated incorrectly. “There’s no one who protects them,” he added.
Al Sarmi also recalled that a clinic he brought his daughter to refused to help, as it was a few hours before their closing.
It is obligatory to help children at any time. When someone does not know what the law says, he’ll go home. And many people just leave without getting the right treatment. However, if you do know what your rights are, they cannot ignore it. Otherwise, legal action can be taken against a person violating the law. But that is not possible right now,” he said.
Al Sarmi added that the law already protects doctors and health institutes, but there is no such law for patients. The Law for the Protection of Public Health does mention protection of patients but, according to Al Sarmi, it is “not complete”.
Al Sarmi noted that other countries, such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Belgium and Lebanon, have special laws that protect patients while they are under treatment. “Why don’t we have such a law in Oman?”, he asked.
He said that the Health Committee is now studying these laws, and will then draft a law. He added that, currently, the proposal is under study by the Health Committee, but other stakeholders will be involved in the drafting process.
“It is a major law. We will involve the World Health Organisation, the Ministry of Health, Sultan Qaboos University Hospital, the Military Hospital and all other stakeholders in the health sector in Oman, including the private sector. We’ll come with a good law which will cover all matters concerning patients,” he said.
“We hope to finish it by the end of this year. We’ll then be the first country in the Gulf to have such a law.”