Your rights

Clear information

You are entitled to clear information from those treating you about:

  • your state of health
  • possible examinations, operations and treatment, expected results and any attendant risks
  • guaranteed reimbursement of the costs of your care by the compulsory medical insurance system.

You also have the right to request a second opinion from a doctor external to the hospital. Please do not hesitate to ask whatever questions you have so that you can make an informed decision. When information is given, a relative can be present if you wish. On request, you can receive a written summary of the explanations given. Please refer any questions on the protection and assistance provided under the law to the social worker in your unit.

Respect for your wishes

Apart from emergencies, no treatment or examination will be undertaken without your free and informed consent. You have the right to reflect before reaching a decision. You can also review your decision later

To be sure that your wishes are respected, you can draw up a living will (see opposite), in case you lose the capacity for rational decision-making or are in a coma. These instructions state what types of care you accept or refuse in a given situation. You can also appoint a representative to take decisions about you if you are no longer able to do so. Where applicable, the doctor appointed will contact your relatives, in a predetermined legal order, to suggest a treatment plan and obtain informed consent. However, in the event of an emergency, the doctor will provide the necessary medical care in accordance with your presumed wishes and best interests.

How do I draw up a living will

To draw up your living will, visit the website or refer to the healthcare staff in your unit. You can amend or cancel a living will at any time. We recommend that you make sure it is accessible to the HUG nursing staff by integrating it in your computerized medical file. Ask your doctor about this. You can also store your living will, accompanied by your identity document, with the service.

To find out more, read Advance Directives and the brochure Drawing up your advance instructions.


All the information you disclose to doctors and other healthcare professionals is protected by professional secrecy. Your healthcare workers cannot disclose your information to third parties (including your relatives). They will not allow third-party access to your file without your consent, except in specific circumstances provided for in law.

Continuity of care

To ensure the continuity of your care, the hospital consultant will inform your general practitioner of your state of health and the treatment given. This disclosure requires your consent. If you have signed up to, documents from your medical file that are useful to your treatment can be exchanged very quickly and in total security by your two doctors.

Accessing your HUG medical file 

If you would like to see your HUG file yourself or would like a healthcare professional from outside HUG to do so, you must submit a request to your doctor at the hospital. The latter may be present if you would like the contents to be explained. You may request a copy of items in the file, for which you will be charged.

You can access your medical file at any time, via the Geneva State service, by registering at

Restraining order

A restraining order is a temporary arrangement which prevents you from moving and going about freely. A doctor can only impose a restraining order if your behaviour is endangering your own life, health and safety or those of others. You are entitled to appeal against an order and request it be lifted.

Recourse to the Clinical Ethics Council

Your treatment may prompt ethical or moral discussion eligible for referral, by the doctors and nurses of your unit, to the HUG Clinical Ethics Council for its opinion. You and your relatives can also refer matters to this Council.

Consent for clinical studies

As a teaching hospital, HUG conducts many clinical studies. They are designed to improve the effectiveness, quality and safety of your treatment. You may be invited to take part in a particular study: You are under no obligation to accept the invitation.

You can give consent for researchers to re-use data related to your health and your biological samples. Such data is encrypted to guarantee confidentiality. For more information, consult the brochure Assisting research. Consent for the re-use of health-related data and samples for research purposes (FR)

Medical photos and films

HUG prepares films and photographs for teaching, research and patient information purposes. They may also be used to monitor patients. Your consent is required before photographing or filming you. You have the right of refusal and may withdraw your consent at any time. The images are stored in secure files.

Tumour register

HUG plays an active role in the fight against cancer. Cancer diagnoses are automatically passed on to the Geneva Tumour Register for this purpose, within the scope permitted by law. If you do not wish your diagnosis to be forwarded, please inform your doctor.

Patient protection

The Swiss Patients’ Organization – SPO (OSP) protects and defends the rights of patients and insured persons in the field of healthcare, in relation to care staff, healthcare institutions and health insurance funds. The SPO/OSP Geneva branch is based at HUG (rue Gabrielle-Perret- Gentil 4, first floor). It is open for consultations every Thursday from 9 am to 12 noon and 1.30 to 4.30 pm 022 372 22 22 • •

Speak to the care team

If you encounter a problem, or if you have any doubts, you should speak immediately to your treating doctor or to your allocated nurse. They will answer your questions and make joint decisions with you concerning your health. With your consent, they will also be pleased to discuss these matters with your relatives. If a major issue arises, ask for an interview with the head of clinic or the nurse in charge of the unit. In the majority of cases, speaking with the doctors and the care staff is all it needs to overcome the difficulties.

espace médiationMediation Unit: a place for listening and dialogue

You as a patient or you and a relative come across a problem during the course of your stay in hospital or an out-patient consultation.
The Mediation Unit:

  • offers the opportunity to talk about the issues you have encountered in your time at the hospital
  • facilitates communication and renews the dialogue between patients and the institution
  • brings together both your concerns and those of the health professionals, to improve the information and the understanding of each party
  • makes health professionals aware of your hospital experiences
  • involves you in improving the quality of care.

The mediation unit has four listening and dialogue rooms for patients or relatives. For any information about your hospital site, refer to Your hospital sites.

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Last update : 08/08/2022