have organized people around patient rights
Quality of care is an issue
that has preoccupied people as 'consumers' of health services.
It has led to campaigns such as that of Consumers
International which profile patient rights as a means of
drawing attention to deviations, as perceived by the public,
from acceptable standards of care.
The patient rights charter
provides an important rights-based approach in health. It often
depends, though, on the willingness of individuals to take legal
or other remedies. This willingness is weaker among poorer groups,
where people may fear being victimised if they take up disputes
with health services. This approach may target individual services
or health workers, when the problems may have been caused by
decisions on health systems and resource allocations that are
taken at much higher levels.
It is, however, important to
ensure that, even while they transfer capacities, neither civil
society nor the state take over the community role (Frigenti
et al., 1998).