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Law on rights of patients with mental illness

Law on rights of patients with mental illness

Publication Date:
27/11/16 9:49 AM
Press Release, Latest Development
Department Grouping:
Comprehensive World Class Healthcare System
Mental Health Design
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Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani yesterday issued Law No. 16 of 2016 on mental health that defines the rights of patients with mental disorders and regulates their care and treatment.

The law stipulates punishment not more than three years in jail or fine not more than QR200,000 or both for a doctor who makes a false medical report of a mental patient to force him get admitted in a hospital or to get him discharged.
A similar punishment has been stipulated for anyone who keeps or makes others keep a mentally ill person in an institution that is not designated for mental care. Anyone who mistreat or neglect a mentally sick person in a way that harms him will face not more than one year in jail or fine not more than QR60,000 or both, whether it be his doctor, nurse or guard.

The punishment will be up to three years in jail if the negligence or mistreatment caused the patient disability and any other disease. A similar term in jail or fine up to QR50,000 or both has been stipulated for violating the rights of the patient mentioned in the law.

The law with 35 articles states that a mentally ill person can be treated only in a specialised mental health hospital (private or public) or a psychiatric section or outpatient clinic of a private or public institutions that are licensed to provide mental care or any other place that provides specialised mental health care.

The above institutions must protect the rights of the patient specified by the law. They should explain to the patient all his rights after coming to the hospital in a way he can understand, or to his guardian or relatives, if his condition does not allow that.
The guardian or family members should be told about the diagnosis and medical examination results and treatment available in the institution and how to get it and the treatment plan before the treatment begins.

They should also be told the names and positions of the medical team that is responsible for his treatment, the possible response to the treatment, possible risks , symptoms, side effects, possible alternative treatment and changes in his condition if any.

If he is shifted to another place or section within the institution, they must be told about the reasons. The doctors should tell the patient about his health and legal status if his situation allows that. Otherwise his family or guardian should be informed.

The institution should make a full medical report containing all his medical examination and treatment procedures. However, it has the right to keep the report confidential for treatment reasons. The patient has the right to get the treatment in safer and secure environment, respecting his dignity and human rights. The patient can be isolated only through a decision by his doctor and for a limited period. The patient or his guardian has the right to file a complaint if he is isolated without approval.

The patient should not be subject to any medical research without a written approval from his or guardian a or the government body concerned. The patient must be protected from sexual, physical, psychological and financial abuse. The doctor has the right to prevent the patient from leaving the hospital for a maximum 72 hours, if the doctor sees any danger to his health or safety if he goes out.

If the patient escapes from the hospital the police should be alerted. If the patient suffers from other diseases and the treatment is not available in the institution he must be moved to a suitable place under police monitoring. The Minister will issue the necessary decision for implementation of the law, which is effective 60 days after being published in the official gazette.

Source Credit: The Peninsula Qatar

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