Handbook to the NHS Constitution
Update 22 January 2019
Accessible information within health and social care is vital to help people understand their care and treatment.
We contacted the Department of Health and Social Care to ask if this document was available in an easy read format. They advised us that this was not routinely carried out so we have written to our local MPs asking for their support for the Department of Health and Social Care to routinely provide information in accessible formats (see letter below).
We were then interviewed by BBC Radio Berkshire about this, at the end of the interview they had been told by the Department of Health and Social Care that they will look at what future steps they can take to present the handbook in a more accessible way.
Listen to the interview. (Begins about 11 minutes in).
The Department of Health and Social Care published the 'Handbook to the NHS Constitution for England', containing information about the rights and what they mean for NHS patients and staff.
From the overview "This Handbook is designed to give the public, patients carers, families and NHS staff all the information they need about the NHS Constitution for England.
It is intended that the Handbook will be used by anyone who wishes to have more detail about the rights and pledges in the Constitution. It will be of particular use to organisations that support and advise patients, carers, families and staff.
The Handbook provides an explanation of each right and pledge in the NHS Constitution and the legal sources of both patient and staff rights. It also outlines the roles we all have to play in protecting and developing the NHS.
The first and second parts of the Handbook provide an explanation of the NHS values (page 12) and guiding Principles (page 14) of the NHS that are set out in the Constitution.
The third part of the Handbook (starting from page 18) is a guide to the patients' rights and pledges contained in the Constitution, and can be used for reference to explain what the Constitution means for patients. It also sets out the responsibilities of people in looking after their own health and working with NHS staff.
The fourth part of the Handbook (starting from page 101) is for staff involved in commissioning and providing NHS services and covers the pledges the NHS has made to staff to help them deliver better quality and compassionate care and to make the NHS a better place to work. It is clear about the expectations the NHS has of staff involved in commissioning and delivering care and their rights as employees."