Privacy, Safety Take Centre Stage In Fresh NHS Constitution


Under a fresh constitution that looks to shape the principles and values of the NHS, the privacy, dignity, and safety of all patients need to be incorporated into how the agency functions.

In the changes that have been proposed to the NHS Constitution of England, patients will be given the power to request that intimate care be carried out by people of the same biological sex wherever possible.

Apparently, from what Hospital & Healthcare Management knows, a fresh NHS Constitution is going to reinforce its commitment to offering single-sex wards, which would also include placing transgender patients within a single room accommodation as per the Equality Act 2010, wherever it is appropriate.

The UK government has been pretty clear that biological sex matters, and the constitution proposal makes it clear what patients can very well expect from NHS services when it comes to meeting their requirements, such as varied biological needs for sexes. The illnesses and conditions that impact men and women differently have to be communicated in a transparent and precise manner.

It is worth noting that the consultation is also having plans to take into account the right of patients as well as their loved one’s access in terms of a fast review and that too from outside of the care team if in case the health of the patient is deteriorating.

The government is planning to take in responses from everyone, right from patients and the public to staff and NHS organizations, prior to publishing the response and a new NHS Constitution.

According to Victoria Atkins, the health and social care secretary, they are wanting to make it crystal clear that if they are looking out for same-sex care, they have to be given access to it wherever possible. She added that they have always been very clear on the fact that sex matters and that their services must respect that.

Atkins adds that by way of taking this into the NHS Constitution, they are indeed highlighting the significance of balancing rights and requirements of all the patients to create a healthcare system that is much faster, easier, and more transparent to one and all.

There are certain more updates that the government is planning to include under the fresh guidelines. There is a possibility of embedding commitment for patients and also their family members when it comes to acute and specialist settings so as to initiate a fast review in terms of care from outside of the initial care team in cases where the patient’s condition is seen as deteriorating. The fact is that this not only offers a thrust to patient safety but at the same time puts them at the heart of self-care.

In addition to this, there may as well be the inclusion of making sure that the health systems work in sync to gauge the requirements of varied groups across every community and decrease the disparities when it comes to access, experience, and outcomes for one and all. There are steps that are considered to strengthen the responsibilities of patients to cancel or reschedule appointments, and when it comes to the NHS, the communication of appointments must be sent out clearly.

Maria Caulfield, the minister for women’s health strategy, opined that the updation of the NHS Constitution happens to be very critical so as to make sure that the principles that are underpinning the NHS go on to work for one and all.

The fact is that all this is about putting patients first in line and giving them the dignity and respect they so very deserve and that too at a time when they happen to be the most vulnerable. She added that their plans include taking into account requests for same-sex intimate care as well as single-sex wards.

They as a matter of fact recognise the significance of the loved ones of the patients when it comes to raising concerns pertaining to their care.

The new constitution has the objective to keep the principals and values of the NHS secure, and it also empowers the staff to aid in improving the care that it offers by way of setting out legal rights for staff and patients when in case of using NHS services.

It, at the same time puts forth the right expectations from both staff and patients, along with the right role that they must play in supporting the NHS.

It is well to be noted that the proposed updates to the constitution will go on to support the government’s mission to make sure that people remain in, and return to work, which itself reflects the significant impact that work can go on to have on a person’s health and wellbeing.

The Chief Executive of Healthwatch England, Louise Ansari, said that the NHS Constitution plays a very important role in shaping the culture of the NHS and letting the public know their rights.

Since the time the NHS Constitution was launched, it has aided in shifting the balance of power from services to patients and their families. However, with only a third of people who happen to know their rights, there is still a long way to go.

Given the issues that the NHS faces, a conversation so as to reaffirm and also raise awareness of the most significant rights to the public has never been more so apt and timely.

Ansari says that they urge everyone to take part in consultation and have their say and this is indeed an opportunity to send out a clear message pertaining to the rights people hold most dear.

For those who are not aware, NHS Constitution happens to be document that outlines rights of patients and staff and it was apparently last updated in 2015. The fact is that it has to be updated at least every 10 years by the Secretary of State.

The consultation is apparently going to be the first stage of a review of the constitution and is going to run for 8 weeks.

The government is going to be taking responses from everyone, such as the public, clinicians as well as the medical professionals, patients, caregivers, and also organisations that represent patients and staff and also health stakeholders, before getting published the consultation response.