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Department of Health and Social Care. Handbook to the NHS Constitution for England. Guidance. 2023b. https//

Department of Health and Social Care. NHS Constitution: 10-year review. Open consultation. 2024. https//

Healthwatch. Looking beyond the NHS Constitution to a meaningful Patient Promise. 2024. https//

How to write the perfect mission statement (with examples). 2023. https//

The NHS Constitution: a touchstone or out of touch?

06 June 2024
Volume 33 · Issue 11


Many organisations have mission, vision or value statements and drafting them is an art. There is a service industry devoted to this:.

There is a lot going on right now in terms of government consultations, initiatives and patient safety reports, both published and planned. All this activity eventually needs to settle and take root. It is in one sense good to see all this activity, it adds vibrancy to debates and discussions. However, in another sense there are dangers – the danger of overlap, of reinventing the wheel, the constant repetition of messages, a neverending cycle of new initiatives, all of which can have negative consequences in terms of patient safety culture development.

It might now be the time to start asking for some consolidation and rationalisation of activity, particularly in relation to changing regulatory and governance structures but not restricted to that. Nurses, doctors, and others already work within a complex healthcare regulatory and governance environment. We need to avoid turning the field of patient safety into a ‘conveyor belt’ of policy making. All this is much easier said than done given the vast number of stakeholders in this area.

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