The NHS Patient's Charter: consumer, policy and partisan political functions. Academic Article uri icon


  • The contents of The Patient's Charter, a recent initiative of Britain's Conservative government, with its origins in the broader Citizen's Charter policy, are summarised and discussed. The Charter details ten Rights which patients are to enjoy and introduces nine national standards relating to patient care practices and maximum waiting times for emergency services and outpatient clinics. The Charter also foreshadows future plans for national and local standards. New rights granted to patients include being given detailed information on local health services, including quality standards and waiting times, guaranteed admission for treatment within two years of going on a waiting list, and the right to a prompt written reply from the chief executive or general manager to any complaint about the NHS. The functions of the Patient's Charter are analysed in terms of their consumer, policy implementation and partisan political significance.

publication date

  • January 1, 1992