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The NHS belongs to us all. The NHS Constitution brings together in one place for the first time in the history of the NHS, what staff, patients and public can expect from the NHS. It also explains what you can do to support the NHS, help it work effectively and ensure its resources are used responsibly.
One of the most important things the NHS Constitution does is to set out your rights as an NHS patient. These rights cover how you 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.
All NHS bodies and private and third sector providers supplying NHS services are required by law to take account of this Constitution in their decisions and actions.
The constitution will be renewed every 10 years, with the involvement of the public, patients and staff. It will be accompanied by the Handbook to the NHS Constitution, to be renewed at least every three years, setting out current guidance on the rights, pledges, duties and responsibilities established by the Constitution.
This will guarantee that the principles and values which underpin the NHS are subject to regular review and recommitment; and that any government which seeks to alter the principles or values of the NHS, or the rights, pledges, duties and responsibilities set out in this Constitution, will have to engage in a full and transparent debate with the public, patients and staff.
Patient booklet - What does the NHS Constitution mean for me?