The NHS Constitution was first published in January 2009, following Lord Darzi’s report ‘High Quality Care for All’. 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.
Following two national consultations, a revised NHS Constitution was published in early 2010, including a new patient right that 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 all reasonable steps to offer you a range of alternatives if this is not possible, and to see a specialist where cancer is suspected within two weeks of referral, or for the NHS to take all reasonable steps to offer a range of alternative providers where this is not possible. These new rights came into effect on 1 April 2010.
As well as capturing the purpose, principles and values of the NHS, the Constitution brings together a number of rights, pledges and responsibilities for NHS staff and NHS patients alike