The proposed strengthening of the NHS Constitution will be overseen by an expert group chaired by Minister of State for Care Services Norman Lamb. The group’s role will be to:
- oversee the consultation on strengthening the NHS Constitution, launched on 5 November, and ensure that the revised Constitution reflects the responses received
- develop a set of proposals to give the NHS Constitution greater traction so that patients, staff and the public are clear what to do, and who to turn to, when their expectations under the Constitution are not met
Health Minister Norman Lamb said:
“The NHS Constitution is an incredibly important document, setting out patients’ rights and reinforcing the values of the NHS.
“Yet too few patients are aware of it, too few staff are aware of its contents, and evidence of its use is scarce. We want to change this. This new group brings together powerful minds to look at how we can give the Constitution real teeth. We will make sure that patients are aware of their rights and what to do if their expectations of the NHS are not met.”
The membership of the new expert group is based on the membership of the previous NHS Future Forum working group on the Constitution, which provided advice on how the Constitution could be strengthened. Additional members representing organisations with statutory duties to promote the Constitution and who have expertise in complaints and redress have been invited to join this group.
The constitution contains a number of rights to which patients, public and staff are entitled, including the right to be given information about treatment, the right to make choices about NHS care and to information to support these choices. The NHS also commits to offering easily accessible, reliable and relevant information to enable people to participate fully in healthcare decisions and to support them in making choices.