Your rights and responsibilities

The NHS Constitution sets out the principles and values of the NHS and the rights and responsibilities of patients and staff. These rights cover how patients access health services, the quality of care you will receive, the treatments and programmes available to you, confidentiality, information and your right to complain if things go wrong.

It is the first time in the history of the NHS that all this information has been brought together in one place. All NHS organisations in England are required by law to take account of the constitution when making decisions and taking action.

The NHS belongs to all of us, and we all have a role to play in ensuring it runs fairly and effectively. At King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust we are committed to upholding the principles, values and rights set out in the constitution.

How you can help us

As a patient, you can help contribute to the success of the NHS by being aware of your responsibilities. These include:

  • Making a significant contribution to your own, and your family’s, good health and wellbeing
  • Following the courses of treatment you have agreed to.
  • Keeping your GP and hospital appointments, or if you have to cancel, doing so in good time.
  • Giving feedback - both positive and negative - about treatment you’ve received
  • Respecting our staff. Our staff are here to help you so we expect you to treat them with respect. Any violence or abuse directed at NHS staff by patients, relatives or members of the public is unacceptable. We operate a zero-tolerance policy against violence or abuse.

Your right to access services within maximum waiting times

Under the NHS Constitution patients have the right to:

  • start consultant-led treatment within 18 weeks from referral where clinically appropriate and the patient wishes to be treated within 18 weeks
  • be seen by a specialist within two weeks of GP referral for suspected cancer

Where this is not possible, the NHS must take all reasonable steps to offer the patient a quicker appointment at a range of alternative providers if they request this. These rights apply to patients who were referred on or after 1 April 2010.

Our Patient Access Policy has more details of what to expect when you are referred. If you are concerned that you have been waiting longer than you should have for your treatment at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, please contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS), which will pass your concerns to the relevant member of staff.