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Volume 479: debated on Monday 1 September 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the Statement made by the Prime Minister on 14 May 2008, Official Report, column 1387, on the draft legislative programme, what minimum standards of (a) access, (b) quality and (c) safety he is considering incorporating in the NHS constitution; whether those minimum standards will differ from the registration requirements to be enforced by the Care Quality Commission; whether he plans to incorporate the minimum standards in legislation; and if he will make a statement. (216939)

The draft NHS Constitution sets out a range of rights and national health service pledges relating to access, quality and safety.

It is our intention to legislate to provide a legal duty on NHS organisations to take account of the Constitution in the decisions they make. Similarly, the government of the day will be obliged by law to renew the NHS Constitution every 10 years.

Registration requirements will be set in regulations and will list the essential safety and quality requirements that providers must meet in order to be registered to provide health and adult social care services. The registration system will sit as a key part of a wider quality improvement framework that encourages excellent care.

The draft NHS Constitution and the Government's proposals are open for public consultation until 17 October 2008. The details, including how to feed in views, may be found at