Darzi review: Government publishes a constitution for the NHS

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 01 July 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a640
  1. Andrew Cole
  1. 1London

    The first ever NHS constitution, enshrining the principles and values of the 60 year old service, will take effect from later this year.

    The constitution, thought to be the first of its kind in the world, pulls together existing rights, responsibilities, and pledges in one document. It includes what the government says is a new right—the right for patients to make choices about their NHS care, including choosing their general practice and expressing a preference for using a particular doctor.

    The constitution will be reviewed every 10 years and will be accompanied by a handbook that sets out current guidance. This will be revised every three years.

    The draft constitution follows year long discussions with staff, patients, and the public. It reaffirms that the NHS is a comprehensive service; that access should be based on clinical need, not an individual’s ability to …

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