Recruiting for values
Anyone applying for a role either directly in the NHS or in an organisation that provides NHS services will be asked to demonstrate the values of the NHS Constitution and how they would apply in their everyday work.
People applying for university courses funded by the NHS will be also be tested on their values.
Developed with patients, members of the public and staff, the NHS Constitution was first published in 2009 to establish an important set of principles and values for the NHS in England.
Rights, pledges and responsibilities
It sets out the rights to which patients, the public and staff are entitled, the pledges the NHS is committed to achieving, and the responsibilities that members of the public, patients and staff owe to one another to ensure that the NHS operates fairly and effectively.
Staff and future staff
The most important part of the NHS Constitution for staff is its six values that all staff – everyone from porters, physiotherapists, nurses, paramedics and gardeners to secretaries, consultants, healthcare scientists and phlebotomists – are expected to demonstrate:
- working together for patients. Patients come first in everything we do
- respect and dignity. We value every person – whether patient, their families or carers, or staff – as an individual, respect their aspirations and commitments in life, and seek to understand their priorities, needs, abilities and limits
- commitment to quality of care. We earn the trust placed in us by insisting on quality and striving to get the basics of quality of care – safety, effectiveness and patient experience right every time
- compassion. We ensure that compassion is central to the care we provide and respond with humanity and kindness to each person’s pain, distress, anxiety or need
- improving lives. We strive to improve health and wellbeing and people’s experiences of the NHS
- everyone counts. We maximise our resources for the benefit of the whole community, and make sure nobody is excluded, discriminated against or left behind.
Test your values with a new e-tool
Health Education England has launched a free online tool to champion the values and behaviours of the NHS. The tool will show you some videos of staff working in various situations and ask you questions about how you would have handled the same situation. You'll then get an assessment report to show you how you've done.
Patients and people using NHS services
For patients and the people who use NHS services, the NHS Constitution reiterates that:
- 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 NHS aspires to put patients at the heart of everything it does
- the NHS works across organisational boundaries and in partnership with other organisations in the interest of patients, local communities and the wider population
- the NHS is committed to providing best value for taxpayers’ money and the most effective, fair and sustainable use of finite resources
- the NHS is accountable to the public, communities and patients that it serves.
The NHS Constitution was refreshed in July 2015 to reflect current policy and legislation and to make it a more practical document. It makes clear that the NHS Constitution applies to any employee and contractor who commissions (procures services on behalf of patients) or provides NHS services, whether or not they are employed by an NHS organisation.
- Read the NHS Constitution documents
- Visit Health Education England's website for more information on the values based recruitment
- Find out more about the ‘6cs’ of care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment (part of the Leading Change, Adding Value framework)