The NHS Constitution brings together in one place details of what staff, patients and the public can expect from the National Health Service.

It also explains what you can do to help support the NHS so that it works effectively and its resources are used responsibly.

The constitution sets out your rights as an NHS patient. These cover how patients 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.

The NHS also makes certain pledges to you which go above and beyond your legal rights and are a commitment to provide high-quality services.
For example, The NHS commits to inform you about the healthcare services available to you locally and nationally.

NHS Choices, for example, is a service intended to help you make choices about your health, from lifestyle decisions about things like smoking, drinking and exercise, through to the practical aspects of finding and using NHS services in England.

We can all help the NHS to work effectively and ensure resources are used responsibly. The NHS Constitution explains the ways in which you can do this, including:

  • Recognising that you can make a significant contribution to your own, and your family’s good health and well-being, and taking some personal responsibility for it

  • Registering with a GP practice

  • Following courses of treatment you’ve agreed to

  • Always treating NHS staff and other patients with respect

  • Keeping GP and hospital appointments – or if you have to cancel, doing so in good time

  • Giving feedback – both positive and negative – about treatment you’ve received