Your Rights And Responsibilities In The NHS

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Your rights andresponsibilities in the NHSThe NHS is for all of usThis is an Easy Read version ofThe NHS Constitution:The NHS belongs to us allFor England

This is an Easy Read version of the NHSConstitution published on 27 July 2015.

What is in this booklet1.2.3.4.5.6.7.PageWhat this booklet is about1Part 1 What the NHS believes6Part 2 How the NHS works10Part 3 Patient rights and NHS promises13Part 4 The things patients should do to help27Part 5 Rights and promises the NHS makesfor NHS staff29Part 6 The things staff should do to helpPart 7 Telling the NHS what you think andmaking a complaint about your care3337

What this booklet is aboutThis is an Easy Read booklet about yourNational Health Service, the NHS inEngland.It has been written for patients, the publicand NHS staff.Patients and the public will find parts 1, 2,3, 4 and 7 of this booklet most relevant.For NHS staff, parts 1-6 of this booklet aremost relevant.Patients, members of the public andpeople who use Easy Read have helped uswrite this version.The longer version is called the NHSConstitution.1

You can read it on the -constitution-for-englandThere is also a Handbook on this websitewhich gives lots more details about all ofthis information.We try not to use difficult words in EasyRead booklets.When we do use difficult words we putthem in bold and explain what they mean.2

The NHS belongs to us allThe NHS saves lives and helps us stayhealthy.It cares for us when we need it most.It is there to help us all to:·have good physical and mental health.·get better when we are ill.·be well looked after even if we aredying and cannot get better.3

What this booklet talks aboutThis booklet talks about:RightsRights·the things that are important toprovide good NHS services to patients.·Your Rights as a patient – what youcan expect from the NHS if you are apatient.·Your Rights as a member of staff what you can expect from the NHS ifyou work for the NHS.·NHS Promises - the extra things theNHS will try to do.·the things everyone should do to helpthe NHS work properly.4

The law says all NHS organisations mustpay attention to the NHS Constitution.The NHS Constitution applies to allorganisations providing NHS services.No-one can change the things in the NHSConstitution without asking everyonewhat they think first.10 years3 yearsEvery 10 years we will ask people if theNHS Constitution needs any changes.We will look at the Handbook every 3years to see if it needs any changes.This booklet also tells you extrainformation about how to make acomplaint and tell us what you thinkabout your treatment.5

1.2.3.4.5.6.7.Part 1 - What the NHS believesThere are 7 main things we believe in.They are the ‘rules’ for everything the NHSdoes. These are:1. The NHS is for everyoneThe NHS will not treat anyone unfairlybecause of their:·gender (if they are a man or a woman).·race.·disability.·age.6

·sexual orientation (being straight, gay,lesbian or bisexual).·religion.·belief.·pregnancy and maternity status (beingpregnant or having a baby).·marital or civil partnership status.·gender reassignment (this meanssomeone who has, or is planning to,change their sex from a man to awoman, or a woman to a man).7

The NHS should treat mental and physicalhealth problems with the sameimportance.The NHS will give extra support to somegroups so they have the same chances asother people to be healthy.2. NHS services are freeNHS services are free, except in somecases. For example, some people have topay for their medicines.3. The NHS gives really good, safecareThe NHS thinks about what things are likefor our patients. We support staff to learnand do their jobs well.4. You are at the centre ofeverything the NHS doesThe NHS supports people to look aftertheir own health and to have choicesabout their care and services.8

This includes people who are in the ArmedForces and their families, or people whohave been in the Armed Forces, whoshould be able to get the same level ofhealth service as everyone else.5. The NHS works with otherorganisations to give better careOrganisations supplying NHS services willwork together to give good health care.6. The NHS will spend taxpayer’smoney carefullyThe NHS will spend money carefully andonly in ways that make things better forpatients.7. The NHS will show people how itmakes decisionsEveryone can see how local NHS servicesdecide on the treatment and services theygive.9

Part 2 - How the NHS worksThis list of how the NHS works was writtenafter talking to patients, the public andstaff.The NHS has 6 main ways of working:1. The NHS works together forpatientsPatients come first in everything the NHSdoes.The NHS works with people and putspatients’ needs first.The NHS tells the truth when things gowrong.10

2. Respect and dignityPatients, families, carers and staff areimportant. The NHS listens to what peoplesay and tells the truth about what it can orcannot do.3. The NHS works hard to give goodsafe careThe NHS listens to patients, carers,families, staff and the public and useswhat they say to make services better.4. The NHS cares about peopleThe NHS does everything it can to makepatients, families, carers and staff feelsafe, healthy and happy.5. Making people’s lives betterThe NHS wants people to get better andhave good services from it.11

We can all do things to keep ourselves andother people well.6. Everyone is important.The NHS makes sure nobody is left out.It understands some people need morehelp than others.12

Part 3 - Patient rights and NHSpromisesThis part tells you more about your rightsand the NHS’s extra promises to you.A Right is something the law says peoplecan get.NHS promises are the extra things theNHS will try to do.1. Getting health servicesYou have the right to:·use NHS services, unless there is areally good reason why you cannot.·free health care, apart from someservices that Parliament has decidedmust be paid for.13

·care that is right for you and is in linewith what you want.·expect the NHS to plan and give theservices people need to keep themhealthy.·in some situations, go to anothercountry in Europe for treatment.·not be treated unfairly because of yourgender, race, disability, age, sexualorientation, religion, belief, genderreassignment, pregnancy andmaternity or marital or civilpartnership status.·get some treatments within a setamount of time and be helped tochoose another organisation if youhave to wait too long for sometreatments.14

The NHS promises to:·have local services that are easy to useand treat you in the time they should.·make it easy to see how it decidesabout services.·make it easy to move between healthservices and for you, your family andcarers to make decisions.15

2. Good care and good places to getcareYou have the right to:·good safe care from staff who aretrained and know what they are doing.·be cared for in a place that is clean,safe and meets your needs.·be given suitable food and drink tomeet your health needs.·expect the NHS to check thathealthcare services that they run orpay for are good enough.The NHS promises to:·share ideas about good care andtreatment.16

3. Medicines and treatmentsYou have the right to:·have medicines that NICE say are safeif your doctor says they are right foryou.(NICE is an organisation that sayswhich medicines doctors should use.)·know why the NHS will not pay for amedicine that you and your doctorthink is right for you.·have the jabs the government sayspeople should have.(These are injections to stop yougetting some diseases.)The NHS promises to:·check or test you for illnesses.17

4. RespectYou have the right to:·be treated properly and have yourhuman rights respected.·be looked after properly and kept safefrom abuse or care that makes you feelbad.·say yes or no to being treated orchecked.(There are rules about who can makedecisions for you if you cannot makethese decisions yourself.)·have information to help you decideabout tests or treatment.18

·look at information about your healthand care and fix it if it is wrong.·expect the NHS to keep yourinformation safe and tell you how yourinformation is used.·ask the NHS to only use yourinformation for your care and be toldwhy if it cannot do this.The NHS promises to:·make sure everyone involved in yourcare has the information they need totreat you safely.·make sure that if you have to stay inhospital, you do not sleep in the sameroom with people of the opposite sex,except in very rare circumstances (forexample, emergencies).19

·take your personal details out of yourhealth information before it uses theinformation to learn about better care.·give you the chance to say it cannotuse information with your personalinformation in it.·tell you about research that you canget involved in.(Research is a planned way to find outabout health problems and helps otherpeople with the same health conditionas you.)·give you copies of letters about yourcare.20

5. ChoiceYou have the right to:·choose your doctor or be told why youcannot choose.·see information you can understandabout how well healthcare services inyour area are doing.·choose the services that meet yourneeds. These options will depend onwhat you need and will develop overtime.The NHS promises to:·tell you about healthcare services youcan use.·give you information you canunderstand to help you choose yourhealthcare.21

6. Being involvedYou have the right to:·help plan and decide about yourhealth and care.·decide about any end of life care (ORcare when you are dying).·information you can understand andthe support you need to do this.·include your family and carers if that isright for you.·manage your own care and treatmentif that is right for you.22

·a care service that is open and honestwith you.·be told the truth if somethinghappened that might, or did, hurt you.·any support you need because of this.·a service that says sorry if it has madeany mistakes.The NHS promises to:·give you information to help you saywhat you think about NHS services.23

3 days·work with you and your family, carersor people who speak for you.·involve you in decisions about yourcare and give you a copy of what iswritten down about it.·ask what you think about services anduse this to make them better.7. If you are not happy with yourcareYou have the right to:·expect the NHS to tell you within 3working days that it has got yourcomplaint and will look into it properly.·talk to the NHS about how it will dealwith your complaint and how long itwill take.24

·know what is happening with yourcomplaint.·ask an independent person called theombudsman to look at your complaintif you are not happy with how the NHSdeal with it.(The ombudsman is not part of theNHS and can look into things again.)·ask a court to look at your complaint ifyou think you have been affected by adecision or process that is outside thelaw.In addition, you may have the right tomoney if you are hurt or made ill by poortreatment.25

The NHS promises to:·deal with your complaint fairly.·be polite and help you complain andnot treat you differently because youcomplain.·say sorry if it has made a mistake andexplain why it happened.·learn from complaints to makeservices better.Part 7 of this booklet has moreinformation about how to tell the NHSwhat you think and complain about NHSservices.26

Part 4 – The things patientsshould do to helpYou should do these things to keepyourself and your family healthy:·sign up with a GP (GeneralPractitioner).·treat NHS staff and other patientsproperly, and with respect.·give the NHS the right informationabout your health.·turn up for appointments on time, orcancel in plenty of time.27

·stick to your treatment or talk to yourdoctor if this is difficult.·have jabs if you need them.·tell your family if you want to have anyparts of your body used to savesomeone else’s life after you die.·tell the NHS what NHS care is like foryou and your family so it can makeservices better.28

Part 5 - Rights andpromises the NHS makesfor NHS StaffStaff make sure the NHS gives goodquality healthcare.It is important that good staff want towork for the NHS.RightsThe Handbook to the NHS Constitutiontells staff what rights the law says theyhave. This section tells staff how thoserights help them at work, and the NHS’sextra promises to them.Staff rights help them to:·work in a way that is best for patientsand staff.29

·be paid fairly.·be involved in decisions at work andhave someone to speak up for them ifthey need them.·work in a safe place where they aretreated fairly and not bullied or hurt.·complain or speak up if they areworried or not happy with somethingat work.30

The NHS promises to:·give staff a good place to work andsupport them to do their job as bestthey can.·make it clear what the NHS expectsfrom staff.·give staff good training and support.·help staff stay safe and well.31

·involve staff or organisations thatspeak for them in decisions that affectthem.·listen to their ideas about how to makeservices better.·support staff to complain or speak up ifthey are worried or not happy withsomething at work.32

Part 6 - The things staff shoulddo to helpThe law says staff must:·take responsibility for what they doand stick to rules about their job.·look after their own health and safetyand the health and safety of peoplethey work with.·not treat any patients or staff unfairlybecause of who they are.·keep information about patientsprivate.·tell the truth when they ask to work forthe NHS and when they do their job.33

·make sure the NHS gives good, safecare.Staff should also do their best to:·give all patients safe care and keepthem safe from harm.·follow all the rules about their job.·work with other staff and NHS servicesto make sure they give good care andtreat everyone nicely.·find someone else who can give theright care if they can't.34

·do training to get better at their jobs.·work with patients, the public and localcommunities to make services better.·speak up straight away if they areworried about something that mightaffect patients, staff or the NHS.·involve patients and their families andcarers in decisions about their care.·be honest if something goes wrong,and learn how to make services better.35

·think about what services are like forpatients.·support patients and staff to getinvolved in looking after their ownhealth.·help make sure everyone has the samechance to be healthy.·tell patients what happens with theirpersonal information and write down ifthe patient wants to share it with otherpeople or not.·only give information about patients toother staff if there is a good reason,and the law says they can.36

Part 7 –Telling the NHS what you thinkand making a complaint aboutyour careThis part of the booklet is about how totell the NHS about something that is goodor bad about the NHS, and how tocomplain if you are unhappy with yourcare.How to tell the NHS what you think?The NHS wants to know what you thinkabout their services.All NHS organisations have ways for you totell them what you think.You can say what you think while you arein hospital or at your doctor’s surgery, orafter you leave.The different ways you can have your saywill be posted on your ward or at yourdoctor’s surgery.37

?Sometimes NHS staff or volunteers will askyou to tell them what you think of theservice.For example, the Friends and Family Testasks if you would tell your friends andfamily that they should use the service ifthey needed to.Please tell the NHS what you think. You donot usually have to say who you are.How to complainA complaint is different from just sayingwhat you think.If you are not happy with your care, you orsomeone who speaks for you cancomplain.38

An NHS organisation must takecomplaints seriously and have rules abouthow to deal with them.1 yearYou should try to complain within 1 year.2 steps to make a complaintAll organisations that provide NHS servicesshould give you information about how tocomplain.Step 1:This is how most complaints are sortedout.You can complain to the service you arenot happy with or the organisation thatpays for your care by:·writing to them.39

·sending an email.·talking to them.If you talk to the organisation first youmight be able to sort things out withoutmaking a complaint.Part 3 of this booklet tells you informationabout your rights when you make acomplaint.40

6 monthsIf things take longer than 6 months, theorganisation must write and tell you why.If you are not happy with what theydecide you can ask someone independentto look at it again.Step 2:If you are not happy with how the NHSorganisation has looked at your complaint,you can make a complaint to anindependent person called anombudsman.To contact the Parliamentary and HealthService Ombudsman:Telephone:0345 015 4033Textphone:0300 061 4298for people who are deaf or find it difficultto use a telephone41

Email:phso.enquiries@ombudsman.org.ukText ‘call back’ and your name and mobilenumber to:07624 813 005Write to:Parliamentary and Health ServiceOmbudsmanMillbank TowerMillbankLondonSW1P 4QPLook on their website:www.ombudsman.org.uk42

You can get in touch with the LocalGovernment Ombudsman for complaintsabout public health services.Public health services are things like:·help to stop smoking.·help with drinking problems.·help with illegal drug problems.43

To get in touch with them:Telephone:0300 061 0614By using their online form:www.lgo.org.uk/making-a-complaintOr you can get more information on theirwebsite:www.lgo.org.uk44

People who can help with complaintsIf you want extra help with complaints,you might want to ask these organisationsfirst:Patient Advice and Liaison services(PALS) can tell you how to complain aboutNHS hospital care.You can ask your hospital or look at thehospital’s website for information abouthow to contact PALS.Local Healthwatch can give you adviceand may be able to help you makecomplaints.To get in touch with hwatchTelephone:03000 683 000Email:enquiries@healthwatch.co.uk45

Telling other organisationsThere are also other organisations thatcan help you:Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs)sometimes have people to supportpatients, called patient liaison teams.Local Healthwatch can tell you moreabout this.You can also ask your local CCG.Information about how to find andcontact your local CCG is atwww.england.nhs.uk/ccg-detailsComplaints Advocacy Services areindependent. They can help you make acomplaint but cannot look into it.Your local Healthwatch can tell you moreabout how to contact complaintsadvocacy services.The Citizens Advice Bureau can also helpwith complaints.Information about how to contact yourlocal Citizens Advice Bureau is available atwww.citizensadvice.org.uk46

The Care Quality Commission (CQC)checks health and adult social careservices such as hospitals, GPs or carehomes.It cannot look into individual complaintsbut your feedback can help it to checkproblems.This could result in actions againstorganisations that give poor care.There is more information on theirwebsite:www.cqc.org.ukTelephone:03000 616 161Email:Enquiries@cqc.org.uk47

CreditsThis paper has been designed andproduced for the Department of Healthby the Easy Read service atInspired Services Publishing Ltd.Ref ISL 063/15. October 2015.www.inspiredservices.org.ukIt meets the UK and European Easy ReadStandards.Artwork is from the Valuing People Clipartcollection and cannot be used anywhereelse without written permission fromInspired Services Publishing Ltd. Crown copyright 20152902162 1p 1k Mar12 (TAU)Last updated October 201548

Patient rights and NHS promises. 13. Part 4 - The things patients should do to help. 27. Part 5 - Rights and promises the NHS makes for NHS staff. 29. Part 6 - The things staff should do to help. 33. Part 7 - Telling the NHS

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