NHS Constitution

NHS Staff – our responsibilities

All staff have responsibilities to the public, their patients and colleagues.

Important legal duties are summarised below.

  • They have a duty to accept professional accountability and maintain the standards of professional practice as set by the appropriate regulatory body applicable to their profession or role.
  • They have a duty to take reasonable care of health and safety at work for them, their team and others, and to co-operate with employers to ensure compliance with health and safety requirements.
  • They have a duty to act in accordance with the express and implied terms of their contract of employment.
  • They have a duty not to discriminate against patients or staff and to adhere to equal opportunities and equality and human rights legislation.
  • They have a duty to protect the confidentiality of personal information that they hold.
  • They have a duty to be honest and truthful in applying for a job and in carrying out that job.

The Constitution also includes expectations that reflect how staff should play their part in ensuring the success of the NHS and delivering high-quality care.

They should aim:

  • To maintain the highest standards of care and service, treating every individual with compassion, dignity and respect, taking responsibility not only for the care they personally provide, but also for their wider contribution to the aims of their team and the NHS as a whole
  • To take up training and development opportunities provided over and above those legally required of their post
  • To play their part in sustainably improving services by working in partnership with patients, the public and communities
  • To raise any genuine concern they may have about a risk, malpractice or wrongdoing at work (such as a risk to patient safety, fraud or breaches of patient confidentiality), which may affect patients, the public, other staff or the organisation itself, at the earliest reasonable opportunity
  • To involve patients, their families, carers or representatives fully in decisions about prevention, diagnosis, and their individual care and treatment
  • To be open with patients, their families, carers or representatives - including if anything goes wrong, welcoming and listening to feedback and addressing concerns promptly and in a spirit of co-operation
  • To contribute to a climate where the truth can be heard, the reporting of, and learning from, errors is encouraged and colleagues are supported where errors are made
  • To view the services they provide from the standpoint of a patient, and involve patients, their families and carers in the services they provide, working with them, their communities and other organisations, and making it clear who is responsible for their care
  • To take every appropriate opportunity to encourage and support patients and colleagues to improve their health and wellbeing
  • To contribute towards providing fair and equitable services for all and play their part, wherever possible, in helping to reduce inequalities in experience, access or outcomes between differing groups or sections of society requiring health care
  • To inform patients about the use of their confidential information and to record their objections, consent or dissent
  • To provide access to a patient’s information to other relevant professionals, always doing so securely, and only where there is a legal and appropriate basis to do so.