Patient rights and house rules

What are your rights as a patient?

What are your rights as a patient?

Since 2002, patient rights have been defined in the Patient Rights Act (wet op de patiëntenrechten). For additional explanation, click on the blue titles to watch these videos from the Federal Public Health Service.

You have the right to:

What that means in practice can be found in the answers to the FAQs shown below.

Are you dissatisfied? You can always submit a complaint to the ombudsperson service.

More information about patient rights can be found here.

Patient rights - FAQs

Patient rights - FAQs

As a hospital, we would like to assure our patients that they will receive Compassionate Care. It is important to us that every employee and physician respects your rights as a patient.

Please see below for an overview of many of the most common questions. We formulate a concrete response and also link to the patient right in question. In addition, we would also like to highlight the role of a confidant or representative for (older) patients.

Right to quality service

As a patient, you receive the best possible care. With their (medical) expertise and available technologies, our care providers treat you in accordance with your needs and wishes. Social class, sexual orientation and religion do not influence your care in any way.

Your treatment includes all care meant to prevent, treat and alleviate physical and psychological pain.

Employees will ask you regularly for your full name and date of birth. That is not because they are forgetful, but rather because they want to ensure patient safety. Consider it an extra check to be sure that the right care is being provided to the right patient at the right moment.

Right to free choice of professional

You are, in principle, free to choose your care provider. That means that you can always see a physician at a (different) hospital. The physician can review your medical records using e-health. You can also ask your current physician for a copy of your medical records.

The free choice of professional may be limited by the law or by circumstances that are particular to an organisation(e.g. if, for example, only one specialist is present at the hospital).

Every care provider also has the right to refuse to see you as a patient. In the event of an emergency, there is, of course, an obligation to provide care. If the care provider stops treating you, please be assured that a colleague will provide you with follow-up care.

Right to information about your medical condition

Your care provider shares all information with you so that you can understand your medical condition. You will receive information about how your medical condition could evolve, even if it could possibly be a negative evolution. If the care provider suggests a treatment or procedure, you, as the patient, will also receive an explanation about the possible risks and complications, about which arguments there against having the procedure performed (e.g. contraindications) and financial consequences. You will receive, in understandable language, advice about how you might best proceed (or not).

Right to information about your medical condition

As the parent or guardian of a minor child, you will receive information about your child's medical condition. The care provider will involve the child, though always with consideration for his or her age and maturity. As soon as a child is in a position to have good insight into the situation, he or she will be able to express what is important to him or her (this usually starts at age 14-16). In that case, you, as parent or guardian, may not request information about your child's medical condition without your child's knowledge and consent.

Right to information about your medical condition

If you, as a patient, do not wish to know whether, for example, you are a carrier of an incurable disease, then it is important to tell your care provider that you do not want information about your medical condition. The case manager will make a note of that in your medical record. If necessary, you can name a person you trust to whom information about your medical condition may be communicated. The care provider will also make a note in your medical record, identifying the person you have designated.

If not sharing information presents a serious challenge to your health or to that of other people (e.g. in the case of an infectious disease), the case manager is not obligated to adhere to your wish to not know. Before disclosing the information to you, your health care provider must consult another case manager in advance and hear from any designated confidant.

The right to informed consent.

Your care provider needs your oral or written consent (e.g. informed consent) in order to start a treatment or to perform a procedure. As a patient, you can only give your informed consent if you are informed about the purpose of the treatment or intervention, its nature, degree of urgency, duration, how often you will have to undergo the treatment, the relevant contraindications, side effects and risks associated with the intervention, aftercare, possible alternatives and financial consequences.

On the website, you will find information about the convention status on the individual physician web pages. For more information about the consequences of choosing a single or multi-occupancy room, consult the welcome leaflets. Always check with your own hospitalisation insurance company about possible insurer involvement and reimbursement.

The right to informed consent

Are you, as a patient, no longer able to express your consent? Your rights are represented according to a waterfall system (e.g. if the first person is not present, then the next in line will be contacted).

  1. You have designated a representative in advance to exercise your rights as a patient if you are no longer able to do so yourself.
  2. If you have not appointed a representative, the patients' rights are exercised by your administrator (appointed by the Justice of the Peace).
  3. If there is no authorised trustee, then the health care provider will have to turn to your family for informed consent (in the order from 4 to 7):
  4. The co-habitating spouse, legal or de-facto co-habitating partner.
  5. An adult child
  6. A parent
  7. An adult sibling
  8. If there are no family members or if no family members wish to be involved, the care provider will take your interests under consideration.

You can also draw up an advance directive in which you express your refusal to consent to a certain intervention or treatment.

Right to a carefully maintained patient record / to be assured of privacy protection:

As a patient, you have the right to medical records that are carefully maintained and securely stored. In addition to general information, the patient's medical record contains all medical information about you as a patient. You always have the right to inspect your medical record or to obtain a copy. You do need to submit a request.

If a patient dies, the family may not request a copy of the medical record afterwards. The records may be inspected by a health care provider only at the request of close relatives up to and including those of second degree kinship, insofar as the patient has not opposed it during his or her lifetime. What this means: as a family member, you need to contact a health care provider to view the deceased person's medical record at the hospital. Thus, there is no direct access by a family member allowed.

See here for more detailed information.

Right to pain management

As a patient, you have the right to pain management that is as effective as possible. You may also request palliative care.

Right to mediation of complaints

Despite all the good care and efforts made, it may happen that, as a patient or family member, you are not satisfied with certain aspects of the care provided.

In this case, please discuss your comments, questions or complaints as soon as possible directly with the health care provider involved. Have you not received a satisfactory response or did your conversation not have the desired outcome?

In that case, please contact the ombudsperson

Exercise of patient rights by third parties

Exercise of patient rights by third parties

Assistance from a confidential contact person

When exercising the right to health and consent information, the right to inspect and copy patient records and the right to submit a complaint, the patient may be assisted by one or more confidential contact persons. The confidential contact person helps the patient exercise these rights. In doing so, he or she may act with the patient or alone, on the patient's behalf.

A confidential contact person can be informally appointed, such as by appearing together at the doctor's office. The patient may also choose to designate his or her confidential contact person in writing using the Federal Commission's ‘Patient Rights' form.

The patient's request to involve the confidential contact person in the exercise of his or her rights will be added to the patient’s file along with the identity of the confidential contact. attending physicianFor this, the patient hands the form to the attending physician.

The patient may terminate the confidential contact person designation at any time.

Performance of a representative

If the patient has become incapacitated and, as a result, can no longer exercise his or her rights as a patient, a representative will act on behalf of the patient. There are different types of representatives.

First, patients can appoint a representative to exercise their rights in case they become incapacitated. This designation is done through a written mandate signed by both the patient and the representative. The Federal Commission's 'Patient Rights' form can be used for this mandate. The patient hands the form to the attending physician, who ensures that it is added to the patient’s record. This mandate can be revoked in writing at any time.

If the patient has not appointed a representative (or if the appointed representative does not act), the rights of the incapacitated patient are exercised by the person's guardian, provided he has been authorised to do so by the justice of the peace.

If there is no guardian authorised to represent the patient, a relative of the patient will exercise the patient rights. These informal representatives as well as the order in which they can act are stipulated in the Patient Rights Act (wet pätiëntenrechten). This pertains to:

  • the cohabiting spouse, the legal or de facto partner
  • an adult child
  • a parent
  • an adult sibling

In the absence of the above family members or in case of a conflict between several representatives of the same rank (e.g. conflict between different children), the professional will represent the interests of the patient.

Copy of or viewing a patient’s medical record

Copy of or viewing a patient’s medical record

For a copy of your medical record, please contact:

CoZo (the Cooperative Care Platform)
On or via their smartphone app. You can view your data (reports, results, images, medication schedules, letters ...) digitally on this digital cooperation platform. The platform contains your data as of 1 December 2017. If you consulted a physician at Maria Middelares General Hospital in Ghent, St Vincent General Hospital in Deinze, the Maria Middelares Medical Centre of Ghent-Brugges or the Medical Centre of Aalter, you can consult your data digitally from three weeks after your consultation. This period of time allows the physician to first discuss the results with you and to provide you with the necessary explanations.
Your GP
Your GP receives reports and copies regarding treatment at our hospitals.
Your attending physician at our hospitals
It is best to contact your physician's secretariat for this.

If you still wish to have access to or receive a copy of your medical record from the hospital, you can submit a request using the forms at the bottom of this page.

For a copy of your medical record, please contact:

House rules

House rules
  • Prevented from attending an appointment? Inform your doctor or his secretariat in time. You can find more information here.
  • Be sure to provide accurate information: bring your identity card and wear your care band upon admission. Provide care providers with accurate information about your health and medication.
  • Collaborate on your treatment. Comply with your physician’s advice.
  • Help ensure a safe environment. Keep corridors, waiting areas, toilets and other spaces clean and tidy. Do not leave objects lying around. Throw waste into the bin.
  • Flammable materials (e.g. lighters, matches, candles, etc.) may not be used in the hospital.
  • It is better to leave jewels and other jewelry, large amounts of money and other valuables at home. Label any belongings with your name. The hospital is not liable for loss or theft. Have you nevertheless brought something valuable with you? We can keep your valuables in the hospital safe. They will be returned to you when you are discharged.
  • Animals are not allowed in our hospital. Only registered assistance dogs will be granted access.

Sound and image recordings

In accordance with privacy legislation, no image recordings of staff, doctors, other patients, visitors or third parties are allowed on the premises and in the buildings of Maria Middelares General Hospital, unless said parties gave their express written consent. Anyone who consents to a recording does not automatically approve the display and dissemination of the images. Both require separate consent.

Would you like to make an audio recording of a conversation between you and the (care) professional or physician to listen to it later at your leisure? We appreciate you indicating this to the person concerned in advance. Distributing these recordings may be a punishable act. Recording a conversation in which you, yourself, do not participate is also not allowed by law.

If you not respect these guidelines, this could lead to a complaint being submitted to the police and/or the data protection authority.

Smoking is only allowed in smoking cabins

By Royal Decree of 15/05/1990, a general smoking ban applies in hospitals: smoking is therefore prohibited throughout the hospital, its rooms and the smoke-free zone around the hospital. At Maria Middelares General Hospital, smoking is only allowed (outside) in the smoking cabins in the meeting square by the entrance and near the A&E.

Questions, suggestions or complaints?

Questions, suggestions or complaints?

Feel free to speak to a doctor, care provider or staff member and submit your question, suggestion or complaint.

If you are unable to do this or the conversation does not have the desired result, feel free to contact our ombudsperson service.