Comments sought on proposals to strengthen the NHS Constitution

Health Minister, Norman Lamb, has announced a public consultation on strengthening the NHS Constitution. The closing date is 28 January 2013. We are keen to hear your views. Comments will feed into a revised Constitution to be published by 1 April 2013.

The Constitution sets out in one place what patients, staff and the public can expect from the NHS.

The main changes proposed cover:

  • making it clearer that:

- patients, their families and carers should be fully involved in all decisions about their health and care, including their end of life care;
- valued and supported staff are crucial to delivering high quality patient care;
- patients who abuse NHS staff could be refused access to the NHS, if it’s safe to do so;
- the NHS is equally concerned about physical and mental health.

  • a new responsibility for staff to treat patients with compassion, dignity and respect. This comes with a commitment that staff should have training and support to do this;
  • an explicit pledge that patients can expect to sleep in single-sex wards;
  • a new pledge that staff must be open and honest if mistakes happen. This will ensure patients get an explanation and apology, and know that lessons learned will help avoid similar incidents. This ‘duty of candour’ will be part of the NHS Standard Contract from April 2013.

The proposals reflect advice from the NHS Future Forum.

Gateway reference number: 18319

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