More than 81.1 percent Ghanaian patients have never seen or heard of the Patients? Charter, a document adopted by the Ghana Health Service (GHS), a study has showed.
The document is to ensure its personnel as well as patients and their families understand their rights and responsibilities of quality healthcare delivery, a study showed.
According to the study, 51.1 percent of them said they knew their rights, a situation described by the study as encouraging since patients? knowledge about their rights to accountability in the health seeking process was paramount.
These findings were contained in a report launched on Thursday in Cape Coast by the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC), in partnership of HAP Foundation-Ghana and STAR-Ghana, all non-governmental organizations.
The Regional launch, dubbed ?Empowering Communities to Demand Better Health Service Delivery in Ghana,? was premised on a research into the Patient Perception Index (PPI) aimed at providing feedback to health service providers about patients? assessment of their services whilst building consensus on benchmarks for improvement.
The PPI, which began in 2012, was one of four project survey components undertaken by GACC and conducted in 40 districts across the country including the Central Region which involved Cape Coast, Saltpond, Apam and Agona Swedru.
The study produced seven indices on patients? perceptions of quality healthcare in selected healthcare centres within the four localities which included the attitude of healthcare providers towards patients; privacy in the interaction with patients by healthcare personnel and quality of pharmacy services for patients.
Others were clean and adequate availability of places of convenience at the health centres, quality of consultancy care by patients; quality of diagnosis and availability of drugs and confidence in prescribed drugs for patients.
In an overview Mr, Samuel Harrison-Cudjoe, a Research Assistant with GACC, said one of the key objectives of the study was to determine patients? knowledge of their rights and the Ghana Health Service Patients? Charter.
He said healthcare providers? attitude towards patients in the healthcare seeking process, based on the study, might be described as moderate.
This is because more than half of the respondents were satisfied with provider courtesy and respect, accounting for 58 percent whiles responsiveness of services offered by providers recorded 60.2 percent; and provider explanation of the patients? condition represented, 47.4 percent.
On perception of medical examination and privacy of consultation, Mr. Harrison-Cudjoe said results showed that physical examination, diagnosis as well as privacy during consultation in the healthcare delivery process met patients? satisfaction.
He said for instance, 53.1 percent of the respondents agreed that diagnosis was good, 47.7 percent showed that they received good physical examination, while 47.4 percent were of the view that healthcare providers attended to them in privacy during consultation.
Service quality in the pharmacy, Mr. Harrison-Cudjoe said, somehow met patients? expectations, with more than half of the respondents, representing 63.2 percent, assessing pharmacists to be polite and respectful. 51.5 percent of respondents also showed that prescriptions were well explained; however 47.3 percent of them complained that waiting time at the pharmacy was unreasonable.
The study outlined suggestions which sought to effect significant turnover in healthcare policy implications directed at improving knowledge of the Patients? Charter and also improve quality of care in provider institutions.
Among them were the re-launching of the Patients? Charter by the GHS with a concerted approach towards publicizing it to inform patients of both their rights and responsibilities; the institution of a ?Patient Day? forum at regional and district levels with the purpose to provide a unique platform for healthcare providers and health sector stakeholders, including NGOs to educate the public about their rights and responsibilities in the healthcare seeking process.
In addition healthcare providers, especially nurses, must be encouraged to be courteous, respectful, responsive and tolerant to patients because they were the key factors that patients looked up to in assessing the quality of care received.
Mrs. Beauty Emefa Narteh, the Communications Officer of GACC, said healthcare was citizens? right and not a privilege, stressing that government had an obligation to provide its citizens with quality healthcare which was one of the basic human rights recognized globally.