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Rights and Duties of Patients | Users

The information contained in this document does not replace the careful reading of the applicable legislation

(According to Law no. 15/2014 and inspired by the Basic Health Law, Law No. 48/90)




1. Right to be treated with respect for human dignity

To be respected in his dignity is a fundamental human right, which acquires particular importance in a situation of illness. The patient / user should be respected by all the professionals involved in the care process, regardless of the specificity of their intervention.


2. The right to respect for one’s cultural, philosophical and religious beliefs

Each patient / user has personal cultural, philosophical and religious convictions. Health care institutions and providers must therefore respect these values and provide for their satisfaction.
Likewise, spiritual support should be provided that the patient / user, or who legitimately represents him / her, may request.


3. Right to choose healthcare services and providers

The right to choose the services and the care providers gives the patient / user the possibility to choose, at the various levels of care, the institution of the National Health Service where they want to be assisted. This right will always be based on existing resources and rules of organization of health services.


4. Right to receive care appropriate to their state of health

Health services should be accessible to all citizens in order to provide, in a humane and timely manner, the health care that the patient / user needs, whether preventive, curative, rehabilitation, long-term or palliative care.
The patient / user and family members have the right to be informed of the reasons for transfer from one level of care to another and to be informed that the continuity and quality of care is guaranteed.
At discharge, all information essential to the continuity of care will be provided.


5. Right to be informed about available health services, their competencies and levels of care, as well as the right to information about their health situation

Citizens have to be provided with information about available local, regional and national health services, their competencies and levels of care, rules of organization and functioning, in order to optimize their use and make it more comfortable.
The patient / user must be clearly informed about his / her health situation, taking into account his / her personality, level of education and clinical and psychic condition. The patient / patient may wish not to be informed of his / her state of health and should indicate, if wished, who should receive the information in his / her place.
The information to be provided should include the diagnosis (type of disease), prognosis (evolution of the disease), treatments to be performed, possible risks and possible alternative treatments.


6. Right to get a second opinion on their health situation

This right, which translates into the request for the opinion of another doctor, allows the patient / user to supplement information on her state of health, giving him / her the possibility to decide, in a more enlightened way, about the treatment to be pursued.
The providers of the different levels of care should ensure that the patient / user is always accompanied by the relevant diagnostic and therapeutic elements. Thus, new examinations and treatments are avoided, painful for the patient and costly for the society.


7. Right of access to data recorded in health records

The patient / user has the right to be acquainted with the data recorded in his / her process, and this information must be provided in a precise and enlightening manner by his / her doctor.
The omission of some of these data is only justifiable if its disclosure is considered harmful to the patient / user or if they contain information about third persons.
The data owner has the right, freely and with no restrictions, to obtain the correction and concealment of personal data, in particular whenever he or she verifies that they are incomplete or inaccurate. He / she also has the right to object to the processing of personal data for the purpose of direct marketing or other forms of prospecting.


8. Right to give or refuse consent, prior to any medical procedure or participation in research or clinical teaching

The consent of the patient / user is essential for the performance of any medical procedure, after being properly informed.
The patient / user can decide, freely and informedly, whether to accept or refuse a treatment or an intervention, and if he / she wishes to change his /her decision.
The aim is to ensure the right to self-determination by encouraging the ability of patients / users to decide for themselves, except in situations where they are unable to do so.
Consent can be presumed in emergency situations and, in case of inability, this right should be exercised by the legal representative of the patient / patient. In this context, professionals should access the living will that the patient / user may have carried out.


9. Right to confidentiality of all clinical information and identifying elements therein

All information regarding the health status of the patient / user – clinical situation, diagnosis, prognosis, treatment and personal data - are confidential. However, if the patient / user gives his / her consent and there is no harm to third parties, this information can be used, always within the strict respect for ethical and legal frameworks.
This right does not dispense attention to professional secrecy, to be respected by all those who work in the health services.


10. Right to privacy in the performance of all medical procedures

Health care is provided with strict respect for the patient's / user's privacy, which means that any act of diagnosis or therapy can only be carried out in the presence of professionals who are indispensable for its execution, unless the patient consents or requests the presence of third parties.
The intimacy of each patient / user, also attentive to their bodily dimension, will be scrupulously respected by all professionals in their care work.
One’s private or family life cannot be subject to interference unless it proves necessary for the diagnosis or treatment and the patient / user expresses their consent.


11. Right to make suggestions and complaints

The patient / user, by himself, by those who legitimately replace him or by representative organizations, can evaluate the quality of provided care whenever requested and submit suggestions or complaints whenever he deems appropriate.
To that end, there are in the health services the Citizen's Office and the possibility of accessing the complaints book.
The user will always receive a response or information about the follow-up given to his suggestions and complaints, in a timely manner.


12. The right to constitute entities that represent and defend their interests

It is a legitimate right of patients / users to constitute associations for the promotion and protection of health, as well as groups of friends of health facilities that can promote humanitarian purposes.


13. The right of minors and the incapacity to have those who represent them

When incapable of exercising their autonomy, the rights of patients / users can be exercised by their legal representatives, always in the pursuit of their best good.


14. Right to follow-up in health services

According to the law, patients / users are entitled to be accompanied by a person indicated by them at the time of admission or as soon as possible.





1. Duty to watch over one’s state of health. This means that one must strive for the most complete recovery and also participate in promoting one’s own health and that of the community in which one lives.

2. Duty to provide health professionals with all the information necessary to obtain a correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

3. Duty to respect the rights of other patients / users, as well as those of the professionals with whom one interacts.

4. Duty to collaborate with health professionals regarding the recommendations one receives and freely accepts.

5. Duty to respect the rules of the organization and operation of health services and facilities.

6. Duty to use health services appropriately and to collaborate actively in reducing unnecessary expenses.

7. Duty to pay the charges that derive from the provision of health care, in accordance with the legal determinations.