Policy paper

NHS Constitution for England

The NHS Constitution establishes the principles and values of the NHS in England.


The Constitution sets out rights for patients, public and staff. It outlines NHS commitments to patients and staff, and the responsibilities that the public, patients and staff owe to one another to ensure that the NHS operates fairly and effectively. All NHS bodies and private and third sector providers supplying NHS services are required by law to take account of this constitution in their decisions and actions.

The Constitution sets out a commitment for government to produce an up-to-date Statement of NHS Accountability to explain how decision-making works in the NHS - this is included in the ‘Guide to the Healthcare System in England’.

The complaints guidance explains how patients can give feedback or make a complaint about NHS care or treatment. It includes information on the NHS complaints arrangements, and what patients can expect when they make a complaint. The guidance should be read alongside the NHS Constitution.

Listen to an audio versionof the constitution.

The Department of Health are currently producing an up to date audio version of the NHS Constitution, as well as an up to date easy read. Both will be published on this page in due course.