NHS principles and values

The NHS is founded on a common set of principles and values that bind together the communities and people it serves – patients and public – and the staff who work for it.

This is our constitution and it establishes the principles and values of the NHS in England. The Constitution will be renewed every 10 years, with the involvement of the public, patients and staff.

There are seven key principles which guide the NHS in all it does:

  • The NHS provides a comprehensive service, available to all
  • Access to NHS services is based on clinical need, not an individual’s ability to pay
  • The NHS aspires to the highest standards of excellence and professionalism
  • The patient will be at the heart of everything the NHS does
  • The NHS works across organisational boundaries
  • The NHS is committed to providing best value for taxpayers’ money
  • The NHS is accountable to the public, communities and patients that it serves

Read more about the NHS England constitution.

NHS values

Patients, public and staff have helped develop values that inspire passion in the NHS and that should underpin everything it does. 

  • Working together for patients
  • Respect and dignity
  • Commitment to quality of care
  • Compassion
  • Improving lives
  • Everyone counts

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