The Patient’s Rights Law was approved by the Knesset on May 1, 1996. The law has come to define the relationship between people requiring treatment and doctors and other medical professionals. The following statement appears in the first paragraph of the law: “This law’s purpose is to define the rights of a person requesting medical treatment or receiving medical treatment and to protect his dignity and privacy.”
Medical treatment is a partnership between the patient and the medical team. This is based on the Patient's Rights Law which assumes that a patient is an intelligent person generally capable of asserting his/her right to receive proper medical treatment. The following protections are guidelines that emerge from this law and others, and from directives issued by Misrad Habriut (The Ministry of Health) to protect the patient's dignity and privacy.
During an Examination
Physical examination in private
Anyone who is examined is entitled to have an additional person present, either a person of his/her choice or an employee, while the examination is being performed.
The presence of a student during a medical examination
A patient has the right to refuse the presence of and/or examination by a student while the patient is receiving medical treatment.
Transfer of medical information to both parents regarding their children
In general, both parents have the right to information regarding a child’s treatment, and the parent who is present is usually sufficient to make decisions,give consent, and/or represent the other parent. However, there may be mitigating legal or other circumstances. The Ministry of Health has published precise instructions about health service providers making information accessible to both parents, and when the consent of one or the other must be requested.
The obligation to maintain confidentiality regarding the treatment given to the patient is the foundation upon which the patient’s trust in the doctor is based. Both the Privacy Protection Law and the Patient’s Rights Law require guarding medical information. These laws are applicable to anyone treating a patient, not solely doctors.
Transfer of Information
The Patient’s Rights Law distinctly establishes the obligation for medical confidentiality, and only permits the transfer of information to a third party in the following circumstances:
- The information is given to a different caregiver for the continuation of treatment.
- Research purposes (in accordance with Helsinki regulations).
- If it is required for a different regulatory requirement (i.e. transfer of information to the Ministry of the Interior for purposes of issuing a firearm license; transfer of information to the National Cancer Registry; notification of infectious diseases, etc.).
- When the patient has agreed to waive the privilege by signing a “Written Medical Confidentiality Waiver (Vasar)”.
For more information, check out our All Rights Index.