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Health Rights


Can you tell me about the Patients Rights Act?

Patients’ Rights & Responsibilities

The Patient Rights (Scotland) Act 2011 advises that once a patient has been diagnosed as requiring inpatient or day case treatment and has agreed to that treatment, that patient’s treatment must start within a maximum of 12 weeks of the treatment having been agreed.

 You need to know how it affects your hospital care in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde including:

The Act was passed by the Parliament in February 2011 and gained Royal Assent in March 2011. The Act aims to improve patients’ experiences of using health services and to support people to become more involved in their health and health care.

Further information and fact sheets on all aspects of the Act are available from NHS Inform.

You can also view the Scottish Government Charter of Patient Rights and Responsibilities (PDF).

Can I get a second opinion? 

You may request a second opinion by asking your healthcare professional and politely explaining your reasons. More advice on asking for second opinions is available from NHS 24

How can I complain?  Can someone help me complain?
You can complain at different levels and if you need independent advice or help to complain you can get it.  Please look at the complaints section of our site.

How can I access my medical records?
You can see your records and, if you choose, you can get a copy. There may be a charge, depending on when the record was last updated.  If you ask a member of NHS staff providing your care, they might show you your records, or suggest that you come back to do this. However, staff don’t have to show you your records unless you ask in writing. In certain circumstances you might be able to see the records of a family member.

You can:

  • Write to the practice manager at your GP surgery
  • Write to the records manager at the hospital or other NHS organisation which holds your records or where your treatment has been taking place. For NHSGGC follow this link
How the NHS handles your personal health information

You can download the following NHS Inform PDF leaflet to find out more.

Can I change my doctor (GP)?
Anyone can change their GP without giving a reason. If you have moved out of the area covered by your GP you can ask them if they are willing to continue visiting and treating you at your new address. They will have to let the local health board know that they are willing to do this.

When you have found another GP who will accept you as a patient, give your medical card to the surgery for registration. It is then sent to the health board, which will send you a new card. If you have lost your medical card the surgery will have a form which is sent instead.

If you want to change doctors because you have been removed from a GP’s list, the procedure is similar to changing through choice. However, if you can’t find a GP who will accept you, the local health board can allocate a GP in your area.

Please visit out “Find A…” search page to search for GPs in your area. 

Can I refuse medical treatment?You have the right to refuse medical treatment unless you have a notifiable disease or you have been detained for psychiatric reasons (usually called being sectioned).  A patient’s consent is needed for most medical matters, but simply going to see a doctor can be regarded as implied consent for an examination or treatment. If you are concerned about a specific type of treatment, the doctor is obliged to describe other forms of treatment that are available. Forcing treatment on a patient who has refused can be considered assault.

Refusing medical treatment for a child is different. If a parent refused treatment for a child, the doctor is obliged to treat the child if it is considered necessary.

You have a right to refuse or stop treatment at any time, even if this means you may die.  If you are concerned that you will be unable to make your wishes known at a later stage in an illness, it may be wise to tell the doctor at what stage you want to stop treatment.

Can I get an interpreter for my appointment?
If you need someone to interpret for you at a GP or hospital appointment please contact the clinic using the telephone number given in your appointment letter as soon as you receive it. Interpreters can be arranged for spoken languages, British Sign Language and Deafblind communication. For face to face interpreting please give as much notice as possible. In emergencies or at short notice a telephone service may be used. Interpreters are trained in clinical communication and bound by the same rules regarding patient confidentiality as other healthcare workers.

Can I get information in other languages?
To get health related information in other languages you should first ask the person caring for you or giving you the information who should be able to provide or arrange this.  Alternatively you can also visit the NHS 24 website translations page

How can I contact the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman?

You can contact the Ombudsman’s office by telephone on 0800 377 7330 or email
The website address for the Ombudsman is If you are looking for recent reports they are available under ‘Investigation Reports’ in the left hand vertical navigation bar. Please use the search facility on the Ombudsman’s website to search for individual reports.

I’ve lost my NHS details/doctor/dentist details, how can I find where I am registered?

Please call Practitioner Services on 0141 300 1300 who will be able to help you recover this information.

If we haven’t answered your questions

If your question is not answered on this page please visit:

You can also view or download information from the Scottish Government:

Citizens Advice Bureau Scotland can also help you: