Rights & Responsibilities

You have a range of rights within the NHS in the way healthcare is provided to you, but you also have significant responsibilities within the process.

Access to health services

  • You have the right to receive NHS services free of charge, apart from certain limited exceptions sanctioned by Parliament
  • You have the right to access NHS services. You will not be refused access on unreasonable grounds
  • You have the right to expect your local NHS to assess the health requirements of the local community and to commission and put in place the services to meet those needs as considered necessary
  • You have the right in certain circumstances to go to other European Economic Area countries or Switzerland for treatment which would be available to you through your NHS commissioner
  • You have the right not to be unlawfully discriminated against in the provision of NHS services including on grounds of gender, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, disability (including learning disability or mental illness) or age


Quality and care

  • You have the right to be treated with a professional standard of care, by appropriately qualified and experienced staff, in a properly approved or registered organisation that meets the required levels of safety and quality
  • You have a right to expect NHS organisations to monitor, and make efforts to improve, the quality of healthcare they commission or provide
  • You have the right to drugs and treatments recommended by NICE for use in the NHS if your doctor says they are clinically appropriate for you


Nationally approved treatments, drugs and programmes

  • You have the right to drugs and treatments recommended by NICE for use in the NHS if your doctor says they are clinically appropriate for you
  • You have a right to expect local decisions on funding of other drugs and treatments to be made rationally following a proper consideration of the evidence. If the local NHS decides not to fund a drug or treatment you and your doctor feel would be right for you, they will explain that decision to you
  • You have the right to receive the vaccinations that the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and immunisation recommends that you should receive under and NHS-provided national immunisation programme
  • Informed choice
  • You have the right to chose your GP practice and to be accepted by that practice unless there are reasonable grounds to refuse, in which case you will be informed of those reasons
  • You have the right to express a preference for using a particular doctor within your GP practice and for the practice to try to comply
  • You have the right to make choices about your NHS care and to information to support these choices. The options available to you will develop over time and depend on your individual needs
  • Complaint and redress
  • You have the right to have any complaint you make about NHS services dealt with efficiently and to have it properly investigated
  • You have the right to know the outcome of any investigation into your complaint
  • You have the right to take your complaint to the independent Health Service Ombudsman if you are not satisfied with the way your complaint has been dealt with by the NHS
  • You have the right to make a claim for judicial review if you think you have been directly affected by an unlawful act or decision of an NHS body
  • You have the right to compensation where you have been harmed by negligent treatment


Your responsibilities

  • You should recognise that you can make a significant contribution to your own and your family’s good health and well-being and take some personal responsibility for it
  • You should register with a GP – the main point of access for NHS care You should treat NHS staff and other patients with respect and recognise that causing a nuisance or disturbance on NHS premises could result in a prosecution
  • You should provide accurate information about your health, condition and status
  • You should keep appointments or cancel within reasonable time. Receiving treatment within a maximum waiting time may be compromises unless you do
  • You should follow the course of treatment which you have agreed and talk to your clinician if you find this difficult
  • You should participate in important public health programmes such as vaccination
  • You should ensure that those closest to you are aware of your wishes about organ donation
  • You should give feedback – both positive and negative – about the treatment and care you have received including any adverse reactions you may have had


When visiting the practice you also have the following responsibilities

  • Please be courteous and polite to our staff at all times. We do not tolerate abusive or aggressive behaviour towards our staff nor other people within the practice. Patient’s displaying such behaviour will be removed from our practice list.
  • Only request a home visit if you are too ill to attend the practice, or because you are housebound due to your illness or disability.
  • Use emergency appointments responsibly and appropriately. Emergency appointments are booked into an already full clinic. Only the urgent problem can be dealt with so please do not ask the doctor or nurse to deal with other matters.
  • Be patient if a doctor or nurse is running late. The sole reason for this will be that they are dealing with another patient’s complex needs