Putting human rights at the heart of health and care

April 24, 2014

The guide The Difference it Makes: Putting Human Rights at the Heart of Health and Care aims to take human rights out of the law books and into the world of health-care. This resource published by the British Institute of Human Rights explains the links between human rights, health and care, and explains why a human rights approach makes sense.

To make the issue better understandable, it provides real-life examples of what a human rights approach looks like in practice and how this can improve outcomes for individuals and organizations. The guide introduces the PANEL principles as an easy short-hand for the key things to think about when putting human rights into practice: 
  • P for participation – enabling meaningful participation of all key people and stakeholders
  • A for accountability – ensuring clear accountability, identifying who has legal duties and practical responsibility for a human rights approach
  • N for non-discrimination – discrimination avoided, attention paid to groups made vulnerable
  • E for empowerment of staff and service users with knowledge, skills and commitment to realising human rights
  • L for law – expressly apply human rights laws
Any rights-based approach should take account of all 5 principles. In the booklet, these principles are well explained and elaborated upon. 
Even though the booklet was written for people working in public sector and voluntary sector organisations in the UK and there is a strong focus on the national Human Rights Act, it may also be useful to professionals in other countries.