'Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion... and in public or in private to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance' (WHO 1948). Ethnic minorities are defined as: '... social groups with distinctive languages, values, religions, customs, attitudes and geographical origins' (Sewell 1995). The 1976 Race Relations Act set up a legal framework for developing services for ethnic minority groups. The 1989 Children Act and the 1991 Parent's charter have followed this. All these are obliged to cater for the needs of ethnic minority groups and to ensure that services provided to the public are not racially discriminatory by the healthcare providers.
Also during the last fifteen years, laws or other legal instruments respecting and protecting the rights of patients was adopted by European countries which reflect the equal and inalienable right, and at the same time it reflects the progressive recognition of the inherent dignity all potential users of the health care system. The method of implementing laws and their real content vary in different countries due to universal nature of patient's rights and that of individual rights, often depending upon prevailing cultural and social norms. ...Show more