The NHS Constitution was published on January 21st 2009. For the first time in the history of the NHS, the constitution brings together in one place details of what staff, patients and the public can expect from the National Health Service.
It says: "You will have the right to be involved, directly or through representatives, in the planning of healthcare services in the development and consideration of proposals for change in the way those services are provided and in decisions to be made affecting the operation of those services."
NHS organisations will be under a legal duty to take account of the NHS Constitution and future governments will have to renew it every ten years.
The constitution is clear about exactly what patients have a right to expect from the NHS, and what they can do if they don't get it.
For more information and related documents visit: www.dh.gov.uk/nhsconstitution