The NHS Constitution

The NHS Constitution establishes the principles and values of the NHS in England. It sets out rights to which patients, public and staff are entitled, and pledges that the NHS is committed to achieving.

It also sets out responsibilities which the public, patients and staff owe to one another to ensure that the NHS operates fairly and effectively. Everyone at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust is bound by the NHS Constitution.

These rights cover how patients access health services, the quality of care you’ll receive, the treatments and programmes available to you, confidentiality, information and your right to complain if things go wrong. In return, the NHS expects you to take responsibility of your own health and use the NHS with respect. This includes:

  • Registering with a GP practice
  • Following courses of treatment you’ve agreed to
  • Always treating NHS staff and other patients with respect
  • Keeping 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

View the NHS Constitution

The 6Cs

Another national initiative that strongly influences the Trust’s focus on providing high quality care and the Trust’s strategic direction is the 6Cs.

Our nurses and midwives have signed up to deliver the 6Cs, an initiative launched by NHS England to provide compassionate and caring healthcare across all of our hospitals. The Chief Nursing Officer for England launched a three year vision and strategy for nursing, midwifery and care staff to ensure that the 6Cs are at the heart of all nursing and midwifery care.

The 6Cs are Care, Compassion, Competence, Communication, Courage and Commitment – all values essential to high quality care.


Care is our core business and that of our organisations, and the care we deliver helps the individual person and improves the health of the whole community. Caring defines us and our work. People receiving care expect it to be right for them consistently throughout every stage of their life.


Compassion is how care is given through relationships based on empathy, respect  and dignity; it can also be described as intelligent kindness and is central to how people perceive their care.


Competence means all those in caring roles must have the ability to understand an individual’s health and social needs and the expertise, clinical and technical knowledge to deliver effective care and treatments based on research and evidence.


Communication is central to successful caring relationships and to effective team working. Listening is as important as what we say and do and essential for “no decision about me without me”. Communication is the key to a good workplace with benefits for staff and patients alike.


Courage enables us to do the right thing for the people we care for, to speak up when we have concerns and to have the personal strength and vision to innovate and to embrace new ways of working.


A commitment to our patients and populations is a cornerstone of what we do. We need to build on our commitment to improve the care and experience of our patients to take action to make this vision and strategy a reality for all and meet the health and social care challenges ahead.

Find out more about the 6 Cs