In March 1993 the Department of Health and the Central Office of Information published “The Patient Charter – and the family doctor services”. It states that every person in the country has the right:
- To be registered with a family doctor
- To change doctor quickly and easily
- To be offered a health check when joining a doctor’s list for the first time or annually at home if 75 years of age or over
- To receive emergency care at any time through a family doctor
- To have appropriate drugs and medicine prescribed
- To be referred to an acceptable consultant when the family doctor thinks it necessary, and to be referred for a second opinion if the patient and family doctor thinks it desirable
- To have access to personal medical records, subject to any limitations by law
- To know that those working for the NHS are under a legal duty to keep the contents of health records confidential
- To choose whether or not to take part in medical research or student training
- To receive a copy of the doctor’s practice leaflet, setting out the services he or she provides to receive a full and prompt reply to any complaint made about NHS services.
- Patients should attend their appointments at the arranged time. If this is not possible they should inform the surgery as soon as possible.
- We expect patients will understand that appointments are for one person only. Additional appointments should be made for more than one person.
- Patients are responsible for their own health, and the health of their children, and should co-operate with the practice in endeavouring to keep themselves healthy. We will give you professional help and advice—please act on it!
- Requests for help and advice for non-urgent matters should be made during surgery hours only.
- Home visits should only be requested for patients who are seriously ill or housebound. It is important to bear in mind that most medical problems are dealt with more effectively in the clinical setting of a well-equipped surgery or hospital.
- Patients should realise that home visits are made at the doctor’s discretion.
- Requests for visits and advice at night should only be made for true emergencies
- Many problems can be solved by advice alone, therefore patients should not always expect a prescription.
- We ask that patients treat the staff and doctors with courtesy and respect. Bear in mind that reception staff have a very difficult job to do, juggling with limited resources and without detailed medical knowledge, they are trying to do their best for you.