Patient Rights and Responsibilities


The NHS Constitution


The NHS belongs to us all. The NHS Constitution brings together in one place for the first time in the history of the NHS, what staff, patients and public can expect from the NHS.

The NHS Constitution was first published on 21 January 2009. As well as capturing the purpose, principles and values of the NHS, the Constitution brings together a number of rights, pledges and responsibilities for staff and patients alike. These rights and responsibilities are the result of extensive discussions and consultations with staff, patients and public and it reflects what matters to them.

It was one of a number of recommendations in Lord Darzi’s report ‘High Quality Care for All’ which was published on the 60th anniversary of the NHS and set out a ten-year plan to provide the highest quality of care and service for patients in England.

All NHS bodies, and private and third-sector providers supplying NHS services in England are required by law to take account of the Constitution in their decisions and actions. The Government has a legal duty to renew the Constitution every 10 years. No Government will be able to change the Constitution, without the full involvement of staff, patients and the public.

NHS Constitution leaflet from the Department of Health



NHS-wide values


Respect and dignity

We value each person as an individual, respect their aspirations and commitments in life, and seek to understand their priorities, needs, abilities and limits. We take what others have to say seriously. We are honest about our point of view and what we can and cannot do.

Commitment to quality of care

We earn the trust placed in us by insisting on quality and striving to get the basics right every time: safety, confidentiality, professional and managerial integrity, accountability, dependable service and good communication. We welcome feedback, learn from our mistakes and build on our successes.


We respond with humanity and kindness to each person's pain, distress, anxiety or need. We search for the things we can do, however small, to give comfort and relieve suffering. We find time for those we serve and work alongside. We do not wait to be asked, because we care

Improving lives

We strive to improve health and well-being and people’s experiences of the NHS. We value excellence and professionalism wherever we find it – in the everyday things that make people’s lives better as much as in clinical practice, service improvements and innovation.

Working together for patients

We put patients first in everything we do, by reaching out to staff, patients, carers, families, communities, and professionals outside the NHS. We put the needs of patients and communities before organisational boundaries.

Everyone counts

We use our resources for the benefit of the whole community, and make sure nobody is excluded or left behind. We accept that some people need more help, that difficult decisions have to be taken – and that when we waste resources we waste others’ opportunities. We recognise that we all have a part to play in making ourselves and our communities healthier. 




How do we ensure equality in care for veterans and the armed forces community?


We are committed to ensuring that those who serve or who have served in the armed forces, and their families, are treated fairly.


As part of this commitment, we are among the first NHS trusts awarded Veteran Aware accreditation by the Veterans Covenant Hospital Alliance (VCHA).

This means we are leading the way in improving NHS care for veterans and members of the armed forces community by:

  • Raising awareness among staff to be aware of veterans’ specific needs;
  • Making past and present servicemen and women aware of charities or NHS services beneficial to them, such as mental health services or support with financial and/or benefit claims;
  • Ensuring that the armed forces community is never disadvantaged compared to other patients, in line with the NHS’s commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant.

As part of this, we display posters in our clinics and public waiting areas, urging anyone who has served in the armed forces to make themselves known to staff.

In addition, we work with Step Into Health and the Employer Recognition Scheme to ensure that we are ‘forces friendly’ employers.

When fully utilised, these services will enhance the recovery pathway for veterans in NHS hospitals.




Information and Confidentiality


As part of its commitment to patient care, Weston Area Health NHS Trust has to record personal information. This is to ensure you get proper care and treatment. The information kept by Weston General Hospital may contain personal details such as your name, address, and telephone numbers as well as contact details of persons related to you. Your medical records contain information about your health as we record them every time you visit the hospital. We only keep information directly related to your medical condition.

Why do we keep this information?

This information is kept so we can provide you with the very best care. We need to have your contact details in order to arrange or rearrange appointments and information on your history so we can have a full picture of your medical conditions. Your next of kin so we can contact them in case of an emergency. We may also hold information to monitor our services so we can improve them and thus provide better care for you.

It is possible we could need some of this information for other reasons such as:

  • To protect the health of the wider public.To assist us in making sure the NHS runs in an efficient manner.
  • To train our staff.

How do we use your information?

Your information is obtained in absolute confidence by authorised staff. Your information may be kept manually in paper-based records or electronically on the Trust’s information system.

It is likely that we may need to disclose this information to other parties in order to provide you with the best care wherever and whenever you may need it. However we will not do this without your consent, which is usually discussed with you as part of your care.

In some cases you may be receiving care from other people as well as the NHS. To enable everyone to work together for your benefit we may need to share some information about you with:

  • Your GP
  • Other hospitals and NHS organisations
  • Other organisations (eg Social Services) directly involved in your health care.

Your information may also be sent to the NHS Central Register for England & Wales, which contains basic personal details of all patients registered with a GP. This register does not contain clinical information.

Legally we are required to pass on information; for example the notification of birth or the prevalence of certain infectious diseases such as meningitis, (but not AIDS) in the interest of public safety.

We have a legal obligation and are committed not to disclose your information to anyone who is not permitted to have access.

The sharing of some types of very sensitive personal information is strictly controlled by the Data Protection Act 1998.

The Trust is also committed to ensuring that your records are kept safe and is taking all measures needed to safeguard its medical records either in paper or digital form.

How to request information that we hold about you

Under the Access to Medical Records Act you are entitled to have access to your records at anytime. All you need is to fill out an application form, provide us with proof of your identity, and pay a small fee for copying your notes. Please write to the address below. 

Legal Services Department
Weston Area Health NHS Trust
Grange Road
BS23 4TQ

You can also write to the same address to discuss issues regarding the sharing of information and how you can consent or object to it.