The Department of Health and Social Care has today announced a review of the NHS Constitution for England.

We have been calling for a review of the NHS Constitution for some time – most recently in our general election manifesto. We welcome the review, and hope it will focus on what patients are most concerned about – increased patient partnership, being able to access the services they need in a reasonable time, and being treated as equals in their care.

It is patients who are ultimately the people who will be impacted most by changes to the Constitution. And it is patient voices that should lead this review.

The NHS Constitution provides a framework for patient engagement, but its principles often remain ignored. In 2021, our lived experience advisory panel, Patient Voices Matter, said that although the Constitution states the NHS should provide a comprehensive service available to all, with patients at the heart of everything the NHS does, this was not the experience of the panel’s members.

Their experiences and what we hear from patients indicates that in the day-to-day running of the NHS, many of the values that underpin the NHS Constitution are not being upheld.

To ensure changes to the Constitution truly improve the experiences patients have of the NHS, patient voices must be prioritised in the review. The Government must partner with patients from the outset, ensuring that what matters to patients are addressed.

We will be responding to the review and sharing what we have heard from patients about their experiences of the NHS. 

Read our general election manifesto.