Know your 9 patient rights and responsibilities

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  1. You have the right to ask questions and get answers.

    3 questions to ask:

    • What is my health problem?
    • What do I need to do?
    • Why do I need to do this?

    You need to:

    • be clear about the details of your consultation.
    • understand the treatment or medication.

  2. You can seek a second opinion.

    • This means talking to another doctor.
    • When do you need a second opinion?
      • If you are not satisfied with your doctor’s diagnosis or treatment.
      • When you are facing a risky or costly treatment (like surgery).
      • When you are not clear if the treatment will work.
      • When you need more information about your options.
    • Ask your primary doctor for a referral to another specialist.

  3. You can ask about your healthcare provider’s experience and training

    • Know more about your doctor’s or health care team’s:
      • education
      • background
      • training
    • Politely ask for information from your doctor.

  4. You have the right to be informed before you willingly give or refuse consent.

    • Get all the facts before making a decision.
    • Know the:
      • benefits and risks
      • possible side effects
      • treatment choices
      • who will give the treatment
      • how the treatment will be done
      • results of refusing the treatment
    • Parents or guardians decide for children up to 18 years old.
    • The age of consent is 16 years old in other regions.

  5. You have the right to get your personal health information.

    • You can get information in your medical records (with limited exceptions).
    • You say who can and can’t look into your personal health information (PHI).

    Your PHI includes:

    • Your name, address and Personal Health Identification Number (PHIN)
    • Facts about your health, healthcare history and family history
    • Facts about the care you are receiving
    • Facts about payment for your healthcare

  6. You can get help from a patient advocate

    • Get a patient advocate when:
      • you can’t speak English or French.
      • you are too ill.
    • A patient advocate is “a person you choose to support you or act on your behalf”.
      • He/she will talk to your family doctor or nurse.
      • He/she can be a trusted relative or friend.
      • He/she must have time to help you.
      • You should name your patient advocate before you need one.

  7. You can decide the type of care you do and do not want to receive

    • You can make your own health care decisions.
    • If you can’t speak for yourself ask your advocate.
    • Make a Health Care Directive or Living Will.
      • It contains the treatment you prefer when you can’t speak for yourself.

  8. You have the right to voice your concerns

    • You can speak without interruptions.
    • You can:
      • ask questions
      • share your opinions about your care
      • say your complaints and concerns

  9. You have the right to report any unplanned harm.

    • Your doctor should tell you when a critical incident (CI) happens while being treated.
    • A critical incident (CI) is:
      • An event that harms a patient while receiving health services.
      • It causes injury, disability, or death.
      • “It is not related to the patient’s main health condition.” (Patient Safety Definitions, MIPS)


    • If you feel that a CI occurred, you may report it.
    • Call the:
      • Critical Incident Reporting Line at (204) 788-8222 in Winnipeg, or
      • Regional health authority office in Manitoba.

Adapted from the MIPS Know your Patient Rights (full version).

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Community Resources

The Manitoba Institute for Patient Safety – It’s Safe to Ask has many easy-to-read materials. Available in various languages.

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