The proposed strengthening of the NHS Constitution, announced by the DH on Guy Fawkes’ night 2012, will be overseen by an expert group chaired by Minister of State for Care Services, Norman Lamb MP.

The group’s role will be to:

  • Oversee the consultation on strengthening the NHS Constitution, launched on 5 November, and ensure that the revised constitution reflects the responses received
  • Develop a set of proposals to give the NHS Constitution greater traction so that patients, staff and the public are clear what to do, and who to turn to, if their expectations under the constitution are not met

Some of the proposed changes are as follows:

  • The constitution currently states that the NHS is open to all, irrespective of gender, race, disability, age, sexual orientation and belief. The amendment proposed would add “gender reassignment and marital or civil partnership”
  • A new duty of candour to apply to all providers of NHS-funded services through contracts with the NHS which is considered more fully in our briefing, A contractual duty of candour
  • The Secretary of State to be bound to take account of the constitution in his own decision-making The membership of the new expert group is based on the membership of the previous NHS Future Forum working group on the constitution, which provided advice on how the constitution could be strengthened. Additional members, representing organisations with statutory duties to promote the constitution and who have expertise in complaints and redress, have been invited to join this group.