The Law No. 16 of 2016 on mental health, defining the rights of patients with mental disorders, was issued by His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on Thursday.
As per the provisions of the law, a punishment of not more than three years in jail or a fine not exceeding QR200,000 is to be levied on a doctor who makes a false medical report of a mental patient to force him get admitted in a hospital or to get him discharged.
Similarly, the law also stipulates that anyone who keeps or makes others keep a mentally ill person in an institution that is not designated for mental care, shall face a punishment of a one-year jail term or a fine exceeding not more than QR60,000 or both, irrespective if the guilty is a doctor, nurse or a guard.
Moreover, a similar term in jail or fine up to QR50,000 or both has been stipulated for violating the rights of the patient mentioned in the law, as reported by the Gulf Times.
As such, the 35-articles law puts forth that a mentally ill person can be treated only in a specialised mental health hospital (private or public) or a psychiatric section or outpatient clinic of a private or public institutions that has a license to provide mental care.
The qualifying institutions shall protect the rights of the patient specified by the law. They should explain to the patient all his rights after coming to the hospital in a way he can understand, or to his guardian or relatives.
Additionally, the guardian or family members should be informed about the diagnosis and medical examination results and treatment available in the institution and the procedures to avail the treatment.
The names and positions of the medical team responsible for the treatment, the possible response to the treatment, possible risks , symptoms, side effects, possible alternative treatment and changes in his condition if any, shall also be revealed during the process. If shifted to another section, the reasons for the same may be specified.
The responsible institution should have a full medical report containing all the medical examination and treatment procedures, which may be kept confidential for treatment reasons. The patient can also be isolated only through a decision by his doctor and for a limited period, but he has the right to file a complaint if the isolation is done without approval.
Further the law stipulates that the patient shall not be subject to any medical research without consent of the concerned authority. He/she must also be protected from sexual, physical, psychological and financial abuse. As per the law, the doctor has the right to prevent the patient from leaving the hospital for a maximum 72 hours, if there is a probable danger to his health or safety.
In case the patient escapes from the hospital, the authority must file a complaint with the police. The law is effective 60 days after being published in the official gazette.