Quality care

You have the right to the best possible health care, and to this end the healthcare providers deploy the necessary medical knowledge and available technology.

In doing so, they respect everyone's dignity and right to self-determination regardless of nationality, social class, sexual orientation or religious beliefs. Concerns aimed at preventing, treating and alleviating your physical and psychological pain are an integral part of your treatment.

The Quality Act (in force since 2022) translated the right to quality care into daily practice and laid down various conditions to ensure quality and safe healthcare services. More information on the Quality Act can be found on the government website.

Free choice of healthcare professional

You are free to choose a healthcare professional and you have the right to consult one or several healthcare professionals about the same problem at any time.

However, this free choice may be restricted by law or by circumstances specific to the organisation (e.g. in case of compulsory admission, in case of presence of only one specialist in the hospital). In addition, each professional also has the right not to continue your treatment - for personal or professional reasons - except in case of emergency. In case the healthcare professional interrupts treatment, they must refer you so that the continuity of your care is guaranteed. You can ask for a copy of your medical records to be sent to the new healthcare provider.

Being informed about your health condition

You are entitled to all the information necessary to understand your state of health (regarding the diagnosis, even if negative) and its probable evolution. The professional will also tell you what behaviour is consequently desirable (e.g. in the case of risks in pregnancy). They communicate this information to you verbally and in language that is clear to you.

What if you do not wish to receive information?

If you do not wish to receive information about your health condition, you must let this be known in advance and the healthcare professional must respect your wish (e.g. refusal to know whether or not you are a carrier of an incurable disease). The professional will note this in your patient record.

You may designate a trusted person to whom the information will be disclosed at your request. The healthcare professional will also note this request in your medical record, along with the identity of the trusted person.

If the non-disclosure of the information causes serious harm to your health or that of third parties (e.g. infectious disease), the professional does not have to follow this "patient request to not know". In this case, they should consult another professional beforehand and hear the designated trusted person, if any.

More information on appointing a representative or trusted person.

What if the information could cause serious harm to your health?

If the professional considers that the information would cause serious harm to your health at a given time, they may withhold certain information from you. For this unusual and temporary course of action, they must seek the advice of a colleague and must add the justification for the withholding of information to the patient file. The sensitive information will, however, be disclosed to the trusted person, if any.

Authorisation for treatment

You, as the patient, have the right to learn whether the professional is insured and authorised to practise their profession. You, as a patient, have the right to inform yourself about the practitioner's insurance coverage and authorisation or registration status.

You have the right to give informed, prior and free consent to any intervention by the practitioner. Information will be provided at appropriate times and will be in a language understood by the patient.

This does not mean that the healthcare professional has to ask explicit consent for every action (taking blood samples, measuring blood pressure, etc.). The healthcare provider can also infer your consent from your behaviour. If you consent to treatment, you basically consent to every part of that treatment. In emergency situations, when it is impossible to ascertain the will of the patient or their representative, the healthcare professional carries out all necessary interventions.

Access to patient records

You have the right to a carefully maintained and securely stored medical record. You may request a copy of your medical record. After the patient's death, only indirect access to their patient record is possible for close relatives up to the second degree and only through a professional (only if patient did not object during their lifetime).

Protection of privacy

Only the healthcare providers involved or needed for your examination or treatment may be present. The information related to your health condition may not be disclosed to third parties, except in case of legal derogation and if it is necessary for the protection of public health or to protect the rights of others.

At UZ Leuven, you may also be examined, treated and cared for by doctors, nurses and paramedics in training. You should be informed about this in advance. Information about your health may only be disclosed to third parties in exceptional circumstances defined by law.

More information on this can be found in the privacy regulations.

Complaint mediation

If you feel that a patient right has not been respected you can contact the hospital's ombudsman service. The ombudsman service listens, provides information and mediates to promote communication and restore trust between you and healthcare providers.

Pain management

You have a right to pain management. Healthcare providers should pay attention to pain, evaluate pain conditions, treat and relieve pain.

Important concerns

  1. As a patient, you not only have rights but also a duty to cooperate with healthcare providers to the best of your ability. Give them all necessary and requested information, keep your appointments and follow their advice (medication, diet, etc.). Respect for each other contributes to a good healthcare relationship.
  2. As a patient, respect the hospital's house rules.
  3. In exercising your rights, you can be assisted by a self-chosen trusted person.
  4. If, as a patient, you are unable to exercise your rights yourself, your representative can do so on your behalf. This person is:
    1. either appointed by you;
    2. or by the justice of the peace as administrator;
    3. or through the legal cascade system of family members up to the second degree.
  5. The hospital counts on correct payment for the services provided. If you have questions about the charging of certain services, please contact the medical administration department in good time. It is always possible to obtain a cost estimate prior to admission.
Last edit: 1 July 2024