Your Rights and Responsibilities as an NHS Patient

 What are your rights?

  • Your have the guaranteed right as a patient of the NHS. It is important that you know these rights and use them. The NHS has their published Patient Charter, which sets out your rights and the standard of service you should expect to receive locally
  • To receive health care on the basis of clinical need, regardless of your income. Everyone has the same right to equal treatment by the NHS regardless of race, sex, age, disability or sexual orientation
  • To be registered with a GP. Information about GP’s in your area are available from 
  • To receive emergency medical care at any time through your GP or the emergency ambulance service and via hospital accident and emergency department. Many of the community hospitals in our area have casualty departments. Alternatively, patients can contact their GP for casualty services. Serious emergencies should use the 999 emergency departments
  • To be referred to a consultant acceptable to you when your GP thinks it is necessary and to be referred for a second opinion of you and your GP agree this is desirable. GP’s are responsible for referring patients to hospital-based specialists. You should discuss with your GP if you want a particular consultant. You can ask you GP for a second opinion and he will discuss this with you. If you want a second opinion about GP care, you can ask to see another GP in the Practice
  • To be given a clear explanation of what is wrong with you, and of any treatment proposed, including risks and any alternatives. You also have the right to give to withhold consent to medical treatment. It is important that you should feel free to ask questions about your care and your treatment from any personal involved. You can take a friend or relation with you to help get an explanation
  • To have access to your health records and to know that those working in the NHS are under a legal duty to keep the contents confidential. You can ask to see or get a copy of your own medical records stored on a computer, or written health records (NHS or private after November 1991). You may also see any medical reports prepared by your doctor or insurer before they are sent on, and for six months after the date of the report
  • To choose whether or not you wish to be examined or treated by a medical student and to choose whether or not to take part in medical trials. You should always be asked in advance about medical students or medical research. This may not always happen and you should be aware that you can refuse and are free to withdraw at any time
  • To be guaranteed admission for treatment by a specific date, no later than 12 months from the day your consultant places you on a waiting list. You should never have to wit more than 12 months for in-patient or daycare treatments
  • To have any complaint about any aspect of your care you should make your concerns known to the Practice Manager. The Ombudsman office can generally consider complaints only when they have been fully considered. 

What are your Responsibilities?

The Patients Charter sets out the commitments that the NHS makes to you as a patient. To ensure the smooth running of health services and to ensure services are effective an efficient, patients too have certain responsibilities. These are set out in the sections below.

  • Please keep appointments
  • Please try to arrive on time
  • If you are unable to attend an appointment, please inform the clinic or surgery in good time
  • If you are given an appointment time or date which is unsuitable, please telephone to change it. Remember, if you continue to default your appointments you may be removed from the list
  • Please ensure your address is correct. If you move house, change address or the postcode is changed, please inform your doctor’s surgery or outpatient clinic and the Health Board


You have a right to expect a high standard of medical care from our Practice and we will try, at all times, to provide the very best care possible, within the resources available. In order to assist us in this, we require that you take full responsibility for ensuring that you do not abuse the service.  For example, it is your responsibility to ensure that you keep medical appointments and follow the medical advice agreed.

Very occasionally a practice / patient relationship breaks down completely.  In this situation the patient may choose to register with a different practice.  The practice also has the right to remove the patient from their list. This would generally only follow advice that had failed to remedy the situation and we would normally give the patient a specific reason for the removal.