New legal rights for NHS patients

PEOPLE in Great Yarmouth and Waveney will receive treatment within set time periods following the addition of new legal rights for patients within the NHS Constitution.

PEOPLE in Great Yarmouth and Waveney will receive treatment within set time periods following the addition of new legal rights for patients within the NHS Constitution.

The Department of Health announced on Monday that all NHS patients will have the right to maximum waiting times for elective treatment and urgent cancer referrals.

Where this is not possible, the NHS will look for an alternative provider to carry out the treatment.

The new addition to the NHS Constitution will come into force from April 1. It gives patients a legal right to start treatment with a consultant within 18 weeks of referral from their GP or to be referred to a cancer specialist within two weeks of an urgent GP referral for suspected cancer.


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If this is not possible, the NHS will be legally obliged to take all reasonable steps to offer them a range of alternative providers.

David Edwards OBE, chairman of NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney, said: 'This is an important addition to the NHS constitution, which outlines in detail the rights of our patients and the improvements which they can expect.

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'These waiting time entitlements will ensure that patients can continue to get rapid access to the best possible care, which is excellent news for the people of Great Yarmouth and Waveney.'

A further right will be added to the constitution in April 2012, giving all eligible people aged between 40 and 74-years-old the right to an NHS health check every five years. This proposal was supported by nearly 80pc of those who responded to the consultation.

The consultation also received support for future rights on evening and weekend access to GPs, access to NHS dentistry, and the right to key diagnostic tests for patients suspected of having cancer within one week of seeing a GP, with an interim milestone of two weeks.

These ideas will be taken forward by the Department of Health as proposals for consultation in the future.

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