Tendering for Care

Consultation on the proposed changes to the Constitution

Single sex accommodation will be included in the constitution for the first time, along with stronger rights for patients to be told about mistakes and a right to have complaints acknowledged within three working days.


The change is part of a wider consultation, launching today, asking the public and the NHS how they think NHS Constitution can be strengthened. The proposed changes to the NHS Constitution would be the first major set of changes since it was introduced three years ago, including:

  • Openness: a new right for patients to receive acknowledgement, an explanation and apology where mistakes have been made;
  • End of life care: a new right that patients, their families and carers should be involved in all discussions and decisions;
  • Complaints: a new right for complaints to be acknowledged within three days, as well as stronger rights on how complaints are then handled;
  • Single sex accommodation: a new pledge making it explicit that this is what patients can expect; and
  • A pledge on abusive and violent patients, making it clear that they could be denied access to NHS services, if it is safe to do so.

The rights set out in the Constitution are all based on existing law. The Government wants patients to be aware of their rights so they can get what they are entitled to first time, every time. But where they don’t, patients will be able to challenge, which may include taking legal action. The type of legal action will depend on circumstances. In some cases patients will have rights against NHS bodies which could mean suing for damages, in others it could mean a judicial review to challenge a decision.

The consultation documents can be found here

The updated pledge on respect states: You should treat NHS staff and other patients with respect and recognise that violence, causing a nuisance or disturbance on NHS premises could result in prosecution and that abusive or violent behaviour could result in you being refused access to the NHS.

· The new contractual duty of candour pledges: to ensure that if you are harmed while receiving healthcare you receive an appropriate explanation and apology, delivered with sensitivity and recognition of the trauma you have experienced, and know that where mistakes have been made, lessons will be learned to help avoid a similar incident occurring again, and to ensure that the organisation learns lessons from complaints and uses these to improve NHS services.

· The pledge on discussing treatment now includes end of life care: You have the right, to be involved fully in all discussions and decisions about your healthcare, including in your end of life care, and to be given information to enable you to do this. Where appropriate this right includes your family and carers.

· The new pledge on single sex accommodation states: that if you are admitted to hospital, you will not have to share sleeping accommodation with patients of the opposite sex, in line with details set out in the Handbook to the NHS Constitution.



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