Responding to the NHS Constitution Consultation

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.
A senior couple hold hands to support one another as the doctor shares the news of the woman's test result with them. The doctor is wearing blue scrubs and a lab coat over top as he holds out a tablet in his hands and talks with the couple.

The NHS Constitution sets out your rights as an NHS patient. 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.  

What is the NHS Constitution? 

The NHS Constitution is at the heart of our NHS 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 years 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 ask for 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.

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 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. We've heard evidence of unsafe, rushed hospital discharge

Health disparities: 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. 

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. 

A woman has an FSH measurement to determine if she is perimenopausal or has already gone through menopause.

Why is the consultation important?  

We all used NHS services, whether for emergency care, a dentist appointment, or a check-up with a GP. However, only a third of people 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. 

Have your say

Find out more about the proposals, visit NHS Constitution: 10 year review. The public consultation closes at 11:59 PM on June 25, 2024.

Respond to the consultation