Guidance: Handbook to the NHS Constitution for England

Department Of Health


The EU Exit transition period ended on 31 December 2020.

On 1 January 2021, rules changed regarding UK residents access to healthcare in the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. The Handbook to the NHS Constitution for England has been updated to reflect this.

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.

The handbook covers:

  • NHS values and the principles that guide the NHS
  • explanations of the rights and pledges in the NHS Constitution
  • legal sources of patient and staff rights
  • the roles we all play in protecting and developing the NHS
Published 27 July 2015
Last updated 4 February 2021 +show all updates

  1. Changed ‘EU GDPR’ to ‘UK GDPR’ throughout.

  2. Changes to ‘Rights and pledges covering access to health services’. Changes to rules on organ donation. Contact details updated for ‘Feedback on the handbook’

  3. Published HTML document to replace pdf.

  4. Updated with 2019 edition of the handbook to the NHS Constitution. Removed the document ‘Addendum to the NHS Constitution: September 2017’ as this information has been incorporated into the new edition of the handbook.

  5. Added an addendum to the NHS Constitution handbook.

  6. First published.

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