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Queen's Speech: Health Bill heralds NHS constitution for patients' rights

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Plans for an NHS constitution, setting out rights for patients in hospitals and the community, were formally announced yesterday in the Queen’s Speech as part of the government’s Health Bill.

The NHS Constitution also calls for an end to the postcode lottery, where some patients are denied access to drugs by PCTs on the grounds of cost.

The Health Bill will also allow for further development of personalised health services and direct payments for healthcare.

Also included are plans for hospitals to publish ‘quality accounts’ of the care they provide.

A draft of the bill was published in June as part of the Next Stage Review of the NHS by Lord Darzi.

The Queen told peers and MPs: 'Because the health of the nation is vital to its success and well-being, a Bill will be brought forward to strengthen the National Health Service.

'The Bill would create a duty to take account of the new NHS Constitution that will set out the core principles of the service and the rights and responsibilities of patients and staff. The Bill would also introduce measures to improve the quality of healthcare and public health.'

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