NHS Constitution

The NHS Constitution seeks to outline the underlying values and principles on which the NHS is based, and in doing so brings together the rights of patient, public and staff.

The Constitution secures the seven founding principles of the NHS which allow the NHS to act in the best interest of patients, public and staff.

It outlines the rights of the patient, including the right to be treated with a professional standard of care; by bringing the rights together and explaining what the patient can do if they do not receive these rights.

Additionally the Constitution sets out the responsibilities of staff, patients and the public that allow the NHS to continue running smoothly.

If at any point you feel that any of your constitutional rights have not been met, please contact the Patient Experience Team on 0115 883 9570 or complete our online form.

Further information and the NHS Constitution handbook are available at www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-nhs-constitution-for-england.

Principles that guide the NHS

Seven key principles guide the NHS in all it does. They are underpinned by core NHS values which have been derived from extensive discussions with staff, patients and the public.

Read more: Principles that guide the NHS

NHS values

Patients, public and staff have helped develop this expression of values that inspire passion in the NHS and that should underpin everything it does. Individual organisations will develop and build upon these values, tailoring them to their local needs. The NHS values provide common ground for co-operation to achieve shared aspirations, at all levels of the NHS.

Read more: NHS values

Patients and the public – your rights

Everyone who uses the NHS should understand what legal rights they have. For this reason, important legal rights are summarised in this Constitution and explained in more detail in the Handbook to the NHS Constitution, which also explains what you can do if you think you have not received what is rightfully yours. This summary does not alter your legal rights.

Read more: Patients and the public – your rights

Patients and the public – your responsibilities

The NHS belongs to all of us. There are things that we can all do for ourselves and for one another to help it work effectively, and to ensure resources are used responsibly. 

Read more: Patients and the public – your responsibilities

NHS Staff – our responsibilities

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

Read more: NHS Staff – our responsibilities