Have your say on new rights for patients

May 22, 2024


The Government has launched a consultation on the NHS Constitution, which sets out your rights as an NHS patient. Read why it’s important to have your say.

The NHS Constitution sets out your rights as a patient of NHS services. It also includes the commitments the NHS aims to achieve so you get high-quality care.

The Government is planning to make several changes to the NHS Constitution. Find out why you should tell the Government what you think about the proposals, as well as any other changes you think should be made.

Quote - We urge everyone to take part in the consultation and have their say. This is your opportunity to send a clear message about the rights you hold most dear - Louise Ansari, CEO, Healthwatch England

What is the NHS Constitution?

The NHS Constitution outlines the founding values of the NHS and details the rights, commitments, and obligations of patients and staff, as well as their roles in ensuring the NHS works effectively.

The NHS Constitution plays a vital role in helping the NHS set the right culture and focus on what matters most to the public. It also tells you about your rights.

For example, if a GP needs to refer you for a physical or mental health condition, in most cases, you have the legal right to choose the hospital or service you’d like to go to.

What is the consultation about?

The Government must update the Constitution via a public consultation every few ten to reflect what people value most when it comes to their health and social care services.
The Government is planning to make several changes to the NHS Constitution. For example, they want to introduce a new right for patients and their loved ones to be able to request a
second opinion when a hospital patient’s condition deteriorates.

The Government wants to hear your views about their proposals, as well as other changes you think should be made.

What are the proposals?

The proposals include:

  • Getting a second opinion: Changes that would empower patients and their families to ask for a second opinion on treatment if their condition or the condition of their loved one
    deteriorates. The rule would see more power put in the hands of patients.
  • Carer rights: A new right to involve unpaid carers as early as possible when a patient is discharged.
  • Patient communication: A commitment to ensuring the NHS communicates information about appointments in a clear and timely way to help patients meet their responsibility to
    keep or cancel appointments.
  • Health inequalities: A plan to strengthen the NHS’s focus on health inequalities by committing services to work with partners to understand the needs of their local communities.

Why is the consultation important?

We should all expect high standards of care, whether for emergency care, a dentist appointment, or a check-up with a GP. However, many people don’t know their rights under
the Constitution.

The consultation is your opportunity to learn more, tell the Government what you think about their proposals, and say if they should make other changes. Find out more about the proposals, visit NHS Constitution: 10 year review. You can have your say until 11:59 PM on June 25, 2024.


Respond to the consultation here

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