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Queen unveils details of NHS constitution

4 December 2008

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Measures included in the newly-announced Health Bill will see the NHS have its first constitution, setting out the rights and responsibilities linked to entitlement to NHS care.

The Bill, the details of which were announced in the Queen’s Speech, will place a duty on all providers and commissioners of state health care to take the constitution into account.

The further development of “personalised” health services and direct payments for health care will also be allowed under the Bill.

Ministers said that the measures showed the government remained “committed to ensuring the highest possible standards of care and to giving more power to individuals to shape the care they need”.

Lord Darzi’s year-long review led to the unveiling of the NHS constitution in draft form in June this year.

It is expected to enshrine a universal right to approved treatments “if clinically appropriate”, as well as measures to end the “postcode lottery” where some patients have been denied access to drugs by NHS trusts while others have not.

Announcing the Bill to MPs and peers in her speech, the Queen said: “The Bill would create a duty to take account of the new NHS Constitution that will set out the core principles of the service and the rights and responsibilities of patients and staff.”

Copyright © Press Association 2008

Department of Health