The Right To Health Information

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The right to health information


We talk about the right of health information to all rights that health users have as patients, to know or not, if that is what they want, information about the current and past health status, and must be true and will be providedIn an understandable and adequate way, so that it helps to make decisions according to your own free will. This right will respect the confidential nature of our health data without anyone being able to access them without prior authorization, forcing health centers to adopt appropriate measures to guarantee it.


Know the basic rights of a patient and what each of them consists of.


In Spain, patient rights are collected in several norms:

  • Spanish Constitution, fundamental right to health protection
  • General Health Law of the year 1986, where the fundamental rights and duties of the patient are established, as well as the general principles of universality and equity.
  • Basic Law Regulatory of the Autonomy of the Patient and of Rights and Obligations on Information and Clinical Documentation (Law 41/2002).
  • The Cohesion and Quality Law of the National Health System, in 2003, develops the management and coordination of health activities in the whole territory.
  • The most recent Royal Decree-Law 7/2018 guarantees access to the National Health System in conditions of equity and universality to all residents in Spain.


Basic rights 

Patient’s right to health and epidemiological information

SNS users and patients have the right to receive information about the available care and services units, the quality of these and the requirements they have to have to access them.

In the health centers and services they must have a guide in which the rights and obligations of the users are presented, the available benefits, the care characteristics available to that center or service, the staff of personnel, the facilities that it hasand the technical means that it has. Every user will be provided information on participation guides, suggestions and claims.

SNS users are entitled to information to later choose their doctor and center, according to the terms and conditions established by competent health services.

Yes, it is true that in most CCAA they allow the free choice of doctor in primary care although with certain limitations, however free choice in specialized care is barely developed.

Every citizen has the right to know the health problems of the community that may be at risk as much as for individual and public health and that this information is in true and understandable terms, being responsible for this, the competent authorities for this right to bemake effective.

Patient’s right to care information

Unless a patient indicates that he does not want to be informed, in vital emergency situations or when the information harms the patient’s health according to the doctor’s criteria, he has the right to all the information that is available on any subject related to his health.

The head of information law is the patient himself. People linked to Him can be informed that it allows it expressly. You can also set a representative in advance in case of not being able to make their own decisions for an overcome incapacity and will act as an interlocutor before the healthcare team.

The information that is provided will be real and sufficient and will be made understandable so that it can make decisions according to your free and own will. It will explain at least the purpose and nature of each intervention, the risks and its consequences. As a general rule, it will be verbally, being recorded in the medical history. In other cases if the consent in writing should be.

It will be the doctor who guarantees the right of patient information or other professionals who attend to the care process or apply any specific technique or procedure. The law establishes that the hospitalized patient has the right to assign a doctor who will be his main interlocutor. And also to sign a hospital discharge document according to the legal system.

Patient’s right to access the clinical history

"Every patient or user has the right to record, in writing or in the most appropriate technical support, of the information obtained in all their care processes, performed by the health service both in the field of primary care and specialized care"

Each center will guard and file all the medical records being the support that is so that its safety, its perfect conservation and the recovery of information is guaranteed. Are obliged to have a means that guarantees the right of access to HC through a duly accredited representative.

The patient has the right to access the clinical documentation and obtain a copy of the data. To request the copy of the medical history, the patient will go to patient care where they will explain the steps to follow to get it. It can also be done telematically on the www is.

Patient’s right to decide on his health

Once the patient has received the necessary information, the free and voluntary consent is essential, called informed consent. In most cases it is verbally but in the face of a surgical intervention, invasive therapeutic procedures or any procedure that puts the health of the patient at risk, it must be done in writing. This document is a communication process between doctor and patient where all medical performance should be recorded with an understandable language that allows the patient to clarify the doubts he has and can choose between different options that exist. It can be freely revoked, at any time in writing. When the patient does not want to be informed, his will will be respected and recorded in writing. Sign consent does not deliver the doctor from responsibilities regardless of whether the intervention has been carried out correctly. Whether it dispensed with or not use the appropriate means to obtain the informed consent, the person responsible for the damages suffered by the patient is he.

Patient right to intimacy

The patient has the right to respect the confidentiality of the data related to their health status and that no one can access them without prior authorization protected by law. These data cannot suppose any type of discrimination, referring to beliefs, sexual option, filiation, object of ill -treatment and ultimately all that information that involves an interference in your personal and family intimacy. It will be the obligation of health centers to adopt measures and prepare a series of norms and procedures that will be fundamental to guarantee this right.

The limitation of this is when public health is at stake, when the patient’s age or psychic state so demands it to guarantee their protection or by judicial mandate. In these cases when the professional is forced to reveal the patient’s confidential information, he must do so with the maximum possible restrictions.

Right of the patient to respect his own will

A person who, being of legal age, capable and freely expresses his desires previously about the care and treatments he wishes to receive when the time comes when he cannot express himself. This document is called previous instructions and must always be in writing. You can assign a representative, familiar or not, to make the interlocutor with the doctor or health team and help to meet the previous instructions. They cannot be applied when contrary to the legal system. These may be freely revoked at any time in writing.

There is the National Registry of Prior Instructions whose purpose is to allow the knowledge of the entire nation of the previous instructions granted by citizens who have been formalized in accordance with the provisions of the CCAA legislation. This is responsible for guarding the previous instructions sent by the regional records. All data are insured confidentiality and only persons authorized by the health authorities prior identification can be accessed.

Patient’s right to claim and suggest

Every patient or user of the National Health System has the right to submit claims for the treatment received, for the resources that exist in the center, defects of the operation and by the organization.

They have the right to present suggestions being the objective of the increase in user satisfaction regarding the operation, organization and structure of the centers and services.

All this can be done in patient or user information services. You can also go to the Ombudsman if you consider that the health administration has violated rights as a patient.


The right of health information is the right that a citizen has to know all that information about their health or illness and the circumstances that can influence him when making decisions in all -related decisions to be linked to the principle of autonomy or respect for people, whereAn adult, capable and free person can make their own decisions with the appropriate information.

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