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 NHS Constitution

Looking after yourself and your NHS – the NHS Constitution

The NHS Constitution brings together in one place what staff, patients and public can expect from the NHS. It sets out the purpose, principles and values of the NHS and explains a number of rights, pledges and responsibilities for staff and patients alike.


Did you know…?

If your GP refers you for treatment, you have the right for any non-emergency treatment to start within a maximum of 18 weeks, or for the NHS to take reasonable steps to offer you a range of alternatives if this is not possible. You also have the right to be seen by a specialist within a maximum of two weeks from GP referral for urgent referrals where cancer is suspected and your GP thinks it’s necessary.

If your GP refers you to see a consultant, you generally have a choice of a number of hospitals. You might want to choose a hospital that has better results for your treatment than others, or one near family that live in another part of the country, or one that has shorter waiting times. 

You can view your personal health records. You don’t have to give a reason to see them; just ask at your GP surgery and make an appointment to go in.

You should always be treated with dignity and respect, in accordance with your human rights. This means, for example, that your right to privacy should be respected. You should not have to share sleeping or bathroom facilities with members of the opposite sex, except on the rare occasions where you need very specialised or urgent care.

To find out more about your rights and pledges read the full NHS Constitution