Important areas we have improved in the NHS Constitution include:
- patient involvement
- duty of candour
- end of life care
- integrated care
- patient information
- staff rights, responsibilities and commitments
- dignity, respect and compassion
We have also made some technical amendments to ensure that the NHS Constitution is up-to-date for the introduction of the new health and care system on 1 April 2013.
In addition, as part of our initial response to the report into the failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust by Robert Francis QC, we have changed the Constitution to reflect that the NHS’s most important value is for patients to be at the heart of everything the NHS does.
The Francis report emphasises the role of the NHS Constitution in helping to create a positive and caring culture within the NHS.
Of the 290 recommendations made in the report, nine of them relate specifically to the NHS Constitution, and we are carefully considering these. The revised NHS Constitution does not fully reflect our response to the NHS Constitution recommendations made in the Francis report because more time is needed to consider how best to reflect these.
To accompany the updated NHS Constitution, we have also published:
The Public Health Supplement to the NHS Constitution (a joint document from the Department of Health, Public Health England and the Local Government Association), will be available shortly. This document will explain how the NHS Constitution applies to local authorities in the exercise of their public health functions from 1 April 2013.
In addition, we intend to publish the guide to the healthcare system in England, including the statement of NHS accountability. The guide will explain the healthcare system, and is complemented by the statement of NHS accountability, which summarises who is accountable for planning, delivering and assuring NHS services.