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Statement on NHS Constitution

National Voices’ initial response to the proposed changes to the NHS Constitution.

  • Health inequalities
  • Communication and administration
  • Person-centred care

At National Voices we recognise the importance of the NHS Constitution as a document that helps to enshrine the core rights and responsibilities that underpin our NHS.  

It is also right and proper that the Government of the day should update the Constitution on a regular basis and seek to ensure it is still fit for purpose. But eight weeks is not long enough for people to have their say on this vital issue.  

The proposals being consulted on do include some important and necessary updates, in particular the plans to consolidate the rights of unpaid family carers and to bring in Martha’s Rule.  

But like other stakeholders in the sector, we have deep concerns that the consultation’s focus on very specific details draws attention away from the fact the NHS has not met some of the key constitutional promises around waiting times in A&E and elective care for many years.  

And our starkest concerns are around the proposals on same sex wards and intimate procedures. If actualised, they risk making it harder and more confusing for staff to manage competing patient needs and in particular, to deliver high quality care to transgender and non-binary patients, a group who already experience discrimination and significant health inequalities. That’s not to mention whether the NHS has the right facilities to put the proposed policy into practice.  

As a coalition of over 200 health and care charities, we will be engaging with members over the coming weeks to ensure the Department of Health and Social Care hears from a diverse range of voices on this consultation. The collective insight of our members will help to shape our final submission.