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The NHS Constitution
Rights for Patients
Written by Head of Corporate Affairs   

The NHS Constitution embodies rights for patients. It sets out what you as a patient can expect and demand from the NHS, and what we can all do to help it to work more effectively. It explains the principles and values that guide how the NHS should act and make decisions. It explains the rights and responsibilities of staff, patients and the public, and the NHS's pledges to them.

The Constitution explains include how you access health services; the quality of care you will receive; the treatments and programmes available to you; confidentiality regarding your care; and your right to complain if things go wrong.

It gives you the legal right to access NHS services; drugs and treatments approved by the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE); choice about where you receive your care; and to be treated with dignity and respect.

It also promises to ensure that you are seen as soon as possible, that any complaint you make about the NHS is investigated properly and that you receive care in a clean and safe environment.

What the NHS needs from you in return

The NHS is a vital resource and we can all help it work effectively and ensure resources are used responsibly. The NHS Constitution explains the ways in which you can do this, including:
  • recognising that you can make a significant contribution to your own, and your family's good health and wellbeing, and taking some personal responsibility for it
  • registering with a GP practice
  • following courses of treatment you've agreed to
  • always treating NHS staff and other patients with respect
  • keeping GP and hospital appointments - or if you have to cancel, doing so in good time
  • giving feedback - both positive and negative - about treatment you've received
The constitution will be renewed every 10 years, with the involvement of the public, patients and staff.

Find out more about the NHS Constitution and your rights as a patient.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 March 2011 08:48