“Individual patient rights are enshrined in a range of cantonal laws and federal legislation, and they are included in private law, public law and penal law. This fragmented regulation contributes to considerable intransparency of patient rights and is perceived to be a barrier to increasing the mobility of patients, as it has resulted in legal uncertainty concerning the applicable law (cantonal state liability law versus federal private law) (FOPH, 2015g).
“Enshrined in a variety of cantonal and federal laws, patients have the right to:
“• choose their physician and hospital freely (although restrictions may apply depending on the insurance plan);
“• receive timely, face-to-face and comprehensive information about a diagnosis and proposed treatment options;
“• seek a second opinion (although restrictions may apply depending on the insurance plan or cantonal legislation);
“• determine the type of treatment and the duration of treatment (except in the case of forced hospitalizations according to the Federal Epidemics Law);
“• receive high-quality and appropriate medical treatment according to recognized standards of medical practice;
“• be treated with pharmaceuticals or medical products that satisfy the legal quality and safety requirements;
“• receive a written record of their diagnoses and treatments and access to their medical records;
“• have their patient data treated with confidentiality;
“• be accompanied by close relatives to consultations.
“Cantonal regulations on patients’ rights can vary in detail, degree and scope of regulation and may also touch upon formal mediating procedures through patient services either on a hospital or central cantonal level (Canton Bern et al., 2013).
“One recent reform with relation to patients’ rights was a revision in 2008 of the civil law book concerning the protection of the elderly and the young. The new legislation, in force since January 2013, enables patients to designate in advance (e.g. in the case of dementia) a legal guardian and to determine through a living will what kind of medical treatment they wish to receive (FOJ, 2012). In addition, the position of close relatives in determining medical treatments for a patient has been strengthened.
“In 2014, an article was added to the Federal Constitution, which guarantees a right to sufficient and high-quality primary care (see section 6.1.4). Although this does not imply an important change with regard to patient rights (as the right to medical treatment has long been enshrined in cantonal legislation), this article means an important shift with regard to federal competencies in this regard.”
Source: De Pietro C, Camenzind P, Sturny I, Crivelli L, Edwards-Garavoglia S, Spranger A, Wittenbecher F, Quentin W. Switzerland: Health system review. Health Systems in Transition, 2015; 17(4):1–288. http://www.euro.who.int/en/about-us/partners/observatory/publications/health-system-reviews-hits/full-list-of-country-hits/switzerland-hit-2015