The NHS Constitution brings together the principles and values of the NHS in England. Under the Health Act passed on January 19 2010, all providers and commissioners of NHS care now have a legal obligation to have regard to the NHS Constitution, in all their decisions and actions.
The NHS Constitution sets out rights to which patients, public and staff are entitled, and pledges which the NHS is committed to achieve. All NHS bodies, private and third sector providers supplying NHS services need to follow the principles of this Constitution. No Government will have the right to change the Constitution, without the full involvement of staff, the public and patients.
The Constitution contains:
- the principles of the NHS, which are the enduring high-level ‘rules’ that govern the way that the NHS operates, and define how it seeks to achieve its purpose
- NHS values - that inspire passion in the NHS and should guide it in the 21st century. Individual organisations will develop and refresh their own values, tailored to the needs of their area.
- rights to which patients, public and staff are entitled and are protected by law, pledges which the NHS is committed to achieve (but are not legally binding), and responsibilities which the public, patients and staff owe to one another to ensure that the NHS operates fairly and effectively.
New patient rights confirmed
With exception of three new rights, all the other rights and pledges are underpinned by existing law or policy. The three new rights are to:
- make choices about NHS care and to have information to support those choices
- receive vaccinations that the national advisory body recommends
- expect local decisions on funding of drugs and treatments to be made rationally.
Download a copy of the NHS Constitution from the left hand menu. Click on this link to see an easy read version of the Constitution.