Patient Rights & Responsibilities

Users of the National Health Service have rights. The following explains what they are. They fall into three main categories.

Legislated Rights

Rights that have been written into law by means of Parliamentary Acts or Bills. (For example, Access to Health Records Act 1990). As a patient of the NHS you have 10 guaranteed, Legislated Rights.

  • You are entitled to receive health care on the basis of clinical need, regardless of your income.
  • You are entitled to be registered with a Medical practice. If a practice is unwilling to take you on his/her list, you should be given a written reason for this decision. Primary Care Services can arrange for you to be registered with a practice. You are entitled to change your practice at any time. You do not have to give a reason for your decision.
  • You are legally entitled to accept or refuse treatment as you see fit. This includes examinations, tests, diagnostic procedures, medication, operations, etc.
  • You can refuse to be examined or treated in the presence of medical students.
  • You can refuse to be involved in research trials. If you do not agree to be involved in research trials, you can withdraw at any time.
  • You are entitled to equal treatment regardless of race, gender, age or disability.
  • You have a right to information on GP practices in your area and the services they provide. All practices must provide an information leaflet.
  • You are legally entitled to make a complaint about health services. Tayside Health Board can assist you with this. (Contact 0800 027 5507)
  • You have a right to confidentiality. Personal information about your health is confidential and should only be disclosed to those who need that information to provide you with effective treatment.

Access to your Health Records.

You have a legal entitlement to see health records. All records stored on computer can be accessed. You are entitled to copies of your records however a charge may be levied. If you wish to see your records you should apply in writing to the General manager.

Guideline Rights

  • You are entitled to have reasonable access to high quality service and facilities.
  • You are entitled to information on what is wrong with you and the treatment options available. Ask questions. You should be given truthful, clear answers.
  • You are entitled to ask for a second opinion on your diagnosis or treatment.
  • You can ask to have someone with you (friend, relative, interpreter) at any time. You may find this beneficial, particularly if you are asking questions or need moral support.

Human Rights

It is your right to be treated as a human being by another human being and as they would wish to be treated themselves, i.e. with dignity, politeness, respect and consideration. These may not necessarily be covered legally or even be contained in guidelines, but human rights will come into many of the areas mentioned above and are certainly just as important.


A doctor, nurse, or anyone else looking after your health, has to have your agreement before they can examine or treat you. This policy applies to both children and adults. For more information on consent, the rights of children and parents/guardians, ask for a leaflet from reception or go to: 

Patient Responsibilities

Patients, too, have certain responsibilities:

  • Keeping appointments:  Please try to arrive on time. If you are unable to attend an appointment, please inform the clinic or surgery in good time. Address. If you move house, change address or telephone number, or the postcode is changed, please inform your GP practice or outpatient clinic.
  • Treat all healthcare staff in a reasonable, courteous manner.
  • Use emergency services in a responsible manner. Please use the out-of-hours services for emergencies only and not for routine care.
  • Take care with medicines. Medicines are for one person only and should not be shared. Keep them safely away from children and in the original container. Take any unwanted medicines to a chemist for safe disposal.