Recommendations for strengthening the NHS Constitution have been outlined by the NHS Future Forum to the Secretary of State.
The Future Forum, chaired by Professor Steve Field, identifies three ‘essential steps’ for the NHS Constitution to make a difference in the NHS:
- awareness must be raised dramatically among public, patients and staff - for staff, this means helping them really understand what the Constitution means for their everyday work
- the Constitution must be clearer about what happens when the NHS falls short of people’s rights or expectations
- the content needs updating and reinforcing in specific areas.
The areas in which the Future Forum says the Constitution should be updated and reinforced are:
- involving patients in decisions about their care
- supporting staff
- encouraging feedback and a more open working culture
- how information is used and protected
- ‘making every contact count’, so that healthcare professionals take every suitable opportunity to talk to patients about improving their health.
The Secretary of State has accepted the recommendations and is now consulting on proposals to strengthen the Constitution.