Patient rights and responsibilities

Principles of NHS Constitution

The NHS Constitution sets out the principles that guide the NHS.

“The NHS belongs to the people. It is there to improve our health and wellbeing, supporting us to keep mentally and physically well, to get better when we are ill and, when we cannot fully recover, to stay as well as we can to the end of our lives. It works at the limits of science – bringing the highest levels of human knowledge and skill to save lives and improve health. It touches our lives at times of basic human need, when care and compassion are what matter most”.

The NHS Constitution establishes the principles and values of the NHS in England. It sets out rights to which patients, public and staff are entitled, and pledges which the NHS is committed to achieve, together with responsibilities, which the public, patients and staff owe to one another to ensure that the NHS operates fairly and effectively.

To ensure the smooth running of health services and to ensure services are effective an efficient, patients too have certain responsibilities. These are set out in the sections below:

  • Please recognise that you can make a significant contribution to your own, and your family’s, good health and well being, and take personal responsibility for it;

  • Please register with a GP practice – the main point of access to NHS care as commissioned by NHS bodies;

  • Please provide accurate information about your health, condition and status;

  • Please keep appointments, or cancel within reasonable time. Receiving treatment within the maximum waiting times may be compromised unless you do;

  • Please follow the course of treatment which you have agreed, and talk to your clinician if you find this difficult;

  • Please treat NHS staff and other patients with respect and recognise that violence, or the causing of nuisance or disturbance on NHS premises, could result in prosecution. You should recognise that abusive and violent behaviour could result in you being refused access to NHS services.

What we expect from you as a patient:

  • To adhere to practice policy when making and keeping appointments;

  • Be on time for your appointment;

  • Notify a member of the front of house team as soon as possible if you cannot make an appointment;

  • Advise a member of the front of house team of any change of address/telephone numbers;

  • Treat GPs and staff with respect – we do not tolerate violent or abusive behaviour;

  • Work in partnership with us to achieve the best possible use our services.

The NHS has their published “Patient Charter”, which sets out your rights and the standard of service you should expect to receive locally

  • You have the right to receive NHS services free of charge, apart from certain limited exceptions;

  • You have the right to receive care and treatment that is appropriate to you, meets your needs and reflects your preferences;

  • You have the right to expect your NHS to assess the health requirements of your community and to commission, and put in place, the services to meet those needs as considered necessary;

  • You have the right not to be unlawfully discriminated against in the provision of NHS services including on grounds of gender, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, religion, belief, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity or marital or civil partnership status;

  • You have the right to be treated with a professional standard of care, by appropriately qualified and experienced staff;

  • You have the right to be cared for in a clean, safe, secure and suitable environment;

  • You have the right to expect NHS bodies to monitor, and make efforts to improve continuously, the quality of healthcare they commission or provide;

  • You have the right to drugs and treatments that have been recommended by the National Institute for Health and care Excellence (NICE) for use in the NHS, if your doctor says they are clinically appropriate for you;

  • You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect;

  • You have the right to be protected from abuse and neglect, and care and treatment that is degrading;

  • You have the right to accept or refuse treatment that is offered to you, and not to be given any physical examination or treatment unless you have given valid consent;

  • You have the right to be given information about the test and treatment options available to you.

  • You have the right of access to your own health records and to have any factual inaccuracies corrected;

  • You have the right to privacy and confidentiality and to expect the NHS to keep your confidential information safe and secure;

  • You have the right to be informed about how your information is used;

  • You have the right to request that your confidential information is not used beyond your own care and treatment;

  • You have the right to express a preference for using a particular doctor within your GP practice, and for the practice to try to comply;

  • You have the right to be involved in planning and making decisions about your health and care with your care provider or providers, including your end of life care, and to be given information and support to enable you to do this;

  • You have the right to an open and transparent relationship with the organisation providing your care.

  • We will maintain your right to privacy and treat your medical and personal details as confidential.

  • Deal with you in a respectful and efficient manner at all times;

  • To give you a full and clear explanation on matters concerning your health and medical treatment within a reasonable time frame if you request this;

  • Access to your medical records as defined by current legislation;

  • We will notify you of changes concerning the day-to-day functioning of the practice through posters, the practice leaflet, newsletters and our website;

  • All health care professionals who are directly involved with your medical care have undergone appropriate/ relevant training and updates, and hold the statutory qualifications.

Date published: 10th October, 2014
Date last updated: 6th January, 2022