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The Department of Health has published an updated NHS Constitution following a consultation that sought views on a number of proposed changes.
Important areas we have improved in the NHS Constitution include:
- patient involvement
- duty of candour
- end of life care
- integrated care
- patient information
- staff rights, responsibilities and commitments
- dignity, respect and compassion
In addition to strengthening areas of the NHS Constitution, various technical amendments have been made to ensure that it is up-to-date for the introduction of the new health and care system on 1 April 2013.
Furthermore, as part of the government’s initial response to the report into the failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust by Robert Francis QC, the DH have changed the Constitution to reflect that the NHS’s most important value is for patients to be at the heart of everything the NHS does. The Francis report emphasises the role of the NHS Constitution in helping to create a positive and caring culture within the NHS.
To accompany the updated NHS Constitution, we have also published:
- a revised Handbook to the NHS Constitution, which explains the rights, pledges and responsibilities set out in the NHS Constitution in more detail
- the government’s response to the consultation on the NHS Constitution, which explains the changes we have made.
DH have stated that the Public Health Supplement to the NHS Constitution (a joint document from the Department of Health, Public Health England and the Local Government Association), will be available shortly. This document will explain how the NHS Constitution applies to local authorities in the exercise of their public health functions from 1 April 2013.
In addition, the DH intend to publish a guide to the healthcare system in England, including a statement of NHS accountability, which summarises who is accountable for planning, delivering and assuring NHS services.