Your Rights

Understanding your rights as a patient

What you’re entitled to …

Dr. Debbie Norval
Dr. Debbie Norval

The Aesthetic and Anti-aging Medicine Society of South Africa (AAMSSA) is committed to the practice and regulation of Aesthetic and Anti-Aging Medicine in South Africa. The ultimate goal of the society is to uphold the rights of patients.

A recent High Court hearing brought to light the patient’s right to access their own medical records. Many South Africans are completely unaware of their constitutional and medical or ethical rights.  Fortunately, the Ethical Guidelines from the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) are very clear about patients’ rights.

Choice of health service: You have a right to choose which health care service you use. You are free to choose which aesthetic practitioner you see, and to go elsewhere should you not be comfortable with that doctor. No doctor or organisation “owns” you.

The right to a second opinion: A doctor cannot stop you from obtaining a second opinion or being treated by another practitioner.

Refusal of treatment: If you are uncomfortable with or cannot afford what the aesthetic doctor is offering you, you have a right to refuse treatment. Do not agree to treatments if you feel at all pressured.

The right to be treated by a named health care provider: You have a right to know the full name and qualifications of the person treating you. Don’t just assume that someone is a qualified medical doctor just because they use the word “doctor” in their name, no matter how reputable the organisation seems.

Continuity of care: You have a right to see the same health care professional you previously saw. If your doctor is not available you should be informed timeously and appropriate referral should be done with your full knowledge.

Providing sufficient information: Patients have a right to information about the treatment options available including the benefits, risks, costs and consequences associated with each. Your aesthetic practitioner should also mention options they don’t have in their own practice but that could help your condition

The right to your records: Should you require records and/or images for any reason, you are allowed to obtain the originals.  In terms of the law regarding access to information in health records: “A health care practitioner shall provide any person of age 12 years and older with a copy or abstract or direct access to his or her own records regarding medical treatment on request”

An ethical doctor will honour the right of patients to self-determination, to make their own informed choices, and to live their lives by their own beliefs, values and preferences. Check that your aesthetic doctor is accredited with AAMSSA to ensure that you are treated by a capable, qualified and experienced professional.