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Health Act 2009

Section 2:  Duty to have regard to NHS Constitution

85.Section 2 requires specified bodies to have regard to the NHS Constitution when performing their NHS functions. Those functions include the commissioning or provision of NHS services or, in the case of Monitor and the Care Quality Commission, the regulation of those services. The bodies to which the new duty applies are: Strategic Health Authorities, PCTs, NHS trusts, Special Health Authorities, NHS foundation trusts, Monitor and the Care Quality Commission.

86.In addition, those bodies that provide or assist in providing NHS services under arrangements under section 12(1) of the NHS Act or who are providing NHS services under contracts or other arrangements made pursuant to the provisions of the NHS Act listed in subsection (6), must (in doing so) also have regard to the NHS Constitution. This includes bodies providing primary care services, such as pharmaceutical services, dental services and general medical services.

87.Subsection (7) defines “NHS services” as being health services provided in England for the purposes of the NHS in England. Subsection (8) provides that references to the provision of services include the provision of services carried out jointly with another person.

88.The Constitution is for the NHS in England only. However, on 3 July 2008, England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales committed to a high-level statement declaring the principles of the NHS across the UK. This was to reaffirm that the underlying principles of the NHS across the UK remain the same, even as the way the NHS provides care may vary between the four countries, reflecting their different needs and circumstances.

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