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NHS Constitution Consultation

NHS Constitution Consultation

Empower: Access to Medicine has made a submission to the public consultation on the NHS Constitution.  












Consultation on NHS Constitution Submission from Empower: Access to Medicine



This consultation calls for the views of staff, public and patients on the future of the NHS Constitution. At the heart of the Empower: Access to Medicine campaign is the voice of patients. Empower is a new platform to open the debate around the lack of drug development for patients with rare or life-threatening conditions.

The campaign has received the support of Parliamentarians and has been raised in both the House of Commons and House of Lords. Most recently it was highlighted in a Westminster Hall debate by Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP . Mr Clifton-Brown urged the Government “to seize the opportunity offered by the consultation to give more weight to individual patient choice and to allow patients greater freedom to determine what existing and new medical treatments they undertake.”

Empower welcomes the opportunity to make a submission to the Consultation and was particularly encouraged by the commitment, made by the Department of Health, in the following statement:

We propose strengthening the Constitution with an amended principle that the NHS aspires to put patients at the heart of everything it does. We also propose amending several rights and pledges to reflect more clearly that the NHS supports individuals to manage their own health and involves them, their families and carers in decisions that affect them. We further propose creating a new pledge to involve patients in care planning discussions and to offer a written record of their care plan.”

At the core of the Empower campaign is the drive to give patients more say in their treatment and the medicines they are prescribed. Therefore a new pledge to involve patients in care planning discussions and to offer a written record of their care plan is a step that Empower wholeheartedly supports.

Below is the Empower response to the relevant questions posed in the consultation document.



Question 1 - What are your views on the proposed changes to strengthen patient involvement in the NHS Constitution?

Any changes intended to strengthen patient involvement in the NHS Constitution will make for a better health service and patient experience and are to be welcomed.
Due consideration should be given to giving more weight to individual patients’ choices and determination of existing and new medical treatments.

Question 2 - What do you think about our proposal to set out in the NHS Constitution the importance of patient and staff feedback towards improving NHS services?

Empower supports the Consultation proposal that NHS organisations should welcome and act on feedback in the principles and values of the Constitution.

Q3. Do you agree with, or have any concerns about, amending this pledge (Duty of Candour) to make it more specific as suggested?

Empower are keen to see any pledge of a Duty of Candour to not only reflect this duty in respect of when mistakes have been made, but also a duty of candour in respect of the treatment options available to and risks of treatment for a patient.

Q8. Do the proposed changes to the NHS Constitution make clear how the NHS will safeguard and use patient data?

Empower recognises the importance of patient privacy and ensuring appropriate safeguards against the inappropriate sharing of confidential data.

However, Empower is keen to emphasise that any pledge on patient data should be in the spirit of sharing usable data to expedite the development of treatments and avoid at all costs any stifling of research opportunities.There should be no limits on requesting and on obtaining specific patient consents outside of the normal use of data for specific experiments or research.

Q19.   Do you have any further comments about our proposals for strengthening the NHS Constitution?

The NHS Constitution should revolve around the rights of patients except where these infringe others’ rights.


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