Understanding your patient rights
Find out about your legal rights when using health and social care services.
This handbook is designed to tell the public, patients, carers, families and NHS staff all they need to know about the NHS Constitution for England.
The Care Act 2014 states that local authorities must ensure that any adult who appears to require care and support – including carers with support needs – has their needs assessed.
The Social Care Institute for Excellence has more information about the Care Act 2014.
The Mental Capacity Act protects the rights of people to make their own decisions and places a responsibility on professionals to support people to make their own choices wherever possible.
Mind has a guide to your rights under the Mental Capacity Act.
A guide for people using mental health services on their legal right to choose a provider that best suits their individual needs and preferences.
Personal health budgets help you manage your healthcare needs and support such as treatments, equipment and personal care, in a way that suits you.
If you have been referred by your GP for an appointment with a healthcare provider, you may be able to book your appointment with NHS e-Referral Service. You have the right to think about your choices, compare different options and book your appointment at a later stage.
Choosing a Hospital and Consultant
If you are referred by your GP or other health professional to a specialist, then you have the right to choose which hospital to go to for your first outpatient appointment and which consultant-led team will be in charge of your treatment.
You have the right to choose a GP practice, although this choice might be limited to a practice near where you live.
The NHS Constitution says you have the right to access certain services commissioned by NHS bodies within maximum waiting times. Where this is not possible and you ask for this, the NHS will take all reasonable steps to offer you a range of suitable alternative providers.
Information on NHS entitlements, health guides and language interpretation for people entering the UK.
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