Patients' rights and responsibilities

NHS Constitution

Patient access to health services

A patient’s right

Under the NHS Constitution, and as a patient, you have the right to access services within maximum waiting times, (known as 18 weeks Referral To Treatment), or for the NHS to take all reasonable steps to offer a range of alternative providers if this is not possible.

This means that if you have chosen to be treated in this Trust, we should aim to see, diagnose and treat you within 18weeks from Referral to Treatment (RTT) and if we are unable to do this you have:

  • The right to be offered another provider as an alternative option if we are unable to see and treat you within 18 weeks
  • Together with you, we need to suggest an alternate provider (including a private provider) to treat you
  • You can go back to your GP for a new referral or further advice – the choice is yours

In addition we set out to ensure that you have the following rights met:

  • The right to be seen by health professionals whom you can trust
  • The right to be given a clear explanation of your condition and what treatments are available to you
  • The right to know what are the risks and benefits of each treatment offered to you
  • The right to be able to seek a second opinion at another Trust or even another clinician at this Trust
  • The right to give the Trust written consent before any operation or procedure takes place – including the use of a translator if you do not clearly understand what the operation or procedure are
  • The right to see your patient records and be assured that the information will remain confidential (Data Protection Act, 1998)
  • The right, in the event of you making a complaint, to receive a written acknowledgement within 3 working days and a response to the complaint within 6 months (or as agreed with complainant)

NHS Constitution, Section 3a, page 27

A patient’s responsibility

We need you to help us in treating you within the 18 week timeframe and ask you to take the following actions as part of your responsibility for your own care:

  • It is your responsibility to let your GP know if you are not able to be treated within the coming weeks due to planned travel, this doesn’t mean you won’t be treated, it just means your referral should be postponed until you are free, willing and able to be seen and treated within 18 weeks by the Trust
  • It is your responsibility to let the Trust know if you cannot make your appointment for any reason, we ask that you please get in touch and let us know for two reasons; firstly, so we can agree a new appointment with you and ensure that you are not at clinical risk and secondly, so we can offer that appointment to someone else that can make that date and time

Please be advised that if you cancel your appointment for a second time, you may be discharged back to your GP.

Please be advised that if you Do Not Attend (DNA) an appointment, and do not advise us prior to the day and time, you may be discharged back to your GP.

  • It is your responsibility to let both your GP and/or the Trust know if you have a change of address, land-line or/and mobile, so that if we need to get hold of you for any reason such as discussing another appointment we can get in touch.

NHS Constitution, Section 3b, page 90

For more information about patient rights and responsibilities within the NHS, please see:

Your rights and responsibilities under the NHS

The NHS Constitution

Find out more about London North West Healthcare NHS Trust's RTT target performance from Board papers