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The NHS Constitution: securing the NHS today for generations to come

NHS Constitution logo

The NHS Constitution was first published on 21 January 2009. It was one of a number of recommendations in Lord Darzi’s report ‘High Quality Care for All’ which was published on the 60th anniversary of the NHS and set out a ten-year plan to provide the highest quality of care and service for patients in England.

The NHS Constitution brings together in one place for the first time in the history of the NHS, what staff, patients and public can expect from the NHS.

As well as capturing the purpose, principles and values of the NHS, the Constitution brings together a number of rights, pledges and responsibilities for staff and patients alike.  These rights and responsibilities are the result of extensive discussions and consultations with staff, patients and public and it reflects what matters to them.  

From 19 January 2010, following the successful passage of the Health Act through Parliament, all providers and commissioners of NHS care are under a new legal obligation to have regard to the NHS Constitution in all their decisions and actions.

This means that the Constitution, its pledges, principles, values and responsibilities need to be fully embedded and ingrained into everything the NHS does. This duty also covers Monitor and the new Care Quality Commission.

The Government has a legal duty to renew the Constitution every 10 years. No Government will be able to change the Constitution, without the full involvement of staff, patients and the public

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The NHS Constitution for England

From 19 January 2010, following the successful passage of the Health Act through Parliament, all providers and commissioners of NHS care are under a new legal obligation to have regard to the NHS Constitution in all their decisions and actions.

State of Readiness Group report

The State of Readiness Group (SoRG), convened at the request of the NHS Management Board, has produced a full report designed to help NHS organisations to understand their role in realising the potential of the NHS Constitution. SHAs, PCTs and trusts will need to ensure they are acting on the SoRG’s recommendations.

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