NHS Constitution

nhs-constitution-logo_310x298Everyone who is cared for by the NHS in England has formal rights to make choices about the service that they receive.  These include the right to choose a GP surgery, to state which GP you’d like to see, to choose which hospital you’re treated at, and to receive information to support your choices among may other rights.

The Constitution sets out the guiding values, core principles of the NHS and sets out your rights as an NHS patient. These rights cover how patients access health services, the quality of care you’ll receive, the treatments and programmes available to you, confidentiality, information and your right to complain if things go wrong amongst others.

The commitments are ‘pledges’ which are like promises. They are not legally binding, rather a standard that the NHS is aiming to achieve. This includes things such as the NHS commits that if you are admitted to hospital, you will not have to share sleeping accommodation with patients of the opposite sex, except where appropriate. Being a commitment rather than a right, they should strive for it but they are not legally obliged to do it.

The Constitution also outlines the responsibilities you have as a patient of the NHS as well as the rights & pledge to and the responsibilities of NHS staff.

The NHS Constitution is a 16 page document giving a simple run-down of the values, principles, rights and commitments. A more detailed explanation of the document and everything contained within it can be found in the 146 page handbook.

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