Healthcare quality related rights

In this category your first and foremost right is to equality, respect, dignity and privacy - all of which are "rights in progress" at the beginning of the second millennium. You should also be offered whatever healthcare services you need which are available within the regional system. You are supposed to be received personally when you arrive at healthcare facilities and you should be able to have a friend or relative accompany you at all times, as long as this is not medically unadvisable.

Expect to be assigned to a primary care centre and assigned a doctor. From there - and just to be vague - you should receive treatment within an "acceptable" time limit. If, however, you need surgery, this should be carried out within the time frames established by law or else you can apply to be served by private facilities which would then be compensated by the health services.

If you're not happy with the quality of the service you receive, you can make complaints and suggestions and, believe it or not, you will receive a reply.

Finally, you have a right to respect for your autonomy, human dignity and integrity in the event of critical conditions or death and, in the latter case, doctors are required to respect your living will as long as it has been properly prepared and registered with health authorities. They are also required to reduce and relieve suffering as much as possible, but if national press coverage of the situation of terminally ill patients is accurate then in many cases this requirement to adequately alleviate pain and suffering are what Spaniards call asignaturas pendientes, or issues pending.
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