Raising awareness about children and young people’s healthcare rights

Understanding your healthcare rights

We know that healthcare rights can seem like a really complicated topic. NHS England – London’s Babies, Children and Young People’s Transformation team has gathered some key information below that might help you to think about healthcare rights.

NHS Constitution

The NHS Constitution can be a bit like a set of rules for how doctors, nurses, and everyone who works in the National Health Service (NHS) should take care of people’s health. Imagine it’s like a big promise that the NHS makes to everyone in the country.

    • The NHS is for Everyone: It says that no matter who you are or where you’re from, the NHS is there to help you when you’re sick. It’s like a big safety net for everyone.
    • It’s Free: The NHS Constitution promises that when you need to see a doctor or go to the hospital, you won’t have to pay lots of money. It’s all paid for by people who work and pay taxes.
    • Good Care: It says that when you’re not feeling well, the doctors and nurses will do their best to make you better. They will be kind, caring, and will listen to you.
    • Privacy: It’s important to keep your health information private. The NHS will make sure they don’t tell anyone about your health without your permission.
    • Rights and Choices: The NHS Constitution tells you that you have the right to make choices about your health, like which doctor you want to see or what treatments you want.
    • Complaints: If you ever have a problem or something doesn’t go well, you can complain, and the NHS will listen and try to make it better.

So, in simple words, the NHS Constitution is like a big book of promises that the NHS makes to keep everyone healthy and make sure they get good care when they’re not feeling well. It’s like a big hug from the NHS to the people of the country, saying, “We’ll take care of you!”

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) has several articles related to healthcare and what children can expect in terms of their health and well-being.

    • Article 24 – Right to Health: This article is like a promise to children that they have the right to good health. It says that all children should have access to the best possible healthcare, clean water, nutritious food, and a clean environment. It means that healthcare professionals will help keep them healthy, and they can get medicine or treatment when they’re sick.
    • Article 27 Right to a Good Standard of Living: This article talks about having the things you need to live a good, healthy life. It means children should have the right to good food, safe housing, and clothes to keep them warm and dry.
    • Article 3 Best Interests of the Child: This is like a big rule that says everything adults do should be in the best interests of the child. So, when it comes to healthcare, healthcare professionals and parents should always think about what’s best for the child’s health and well-being.
    • Article 12 Right to be Heard: This one is about listening to children. When it comes to healthcare, it means children should be able to say what they think and have their opinions considered. If they’re old enough, their ideas about their own health and medical treatments should be taken into account.
    • Article 23 Disabled Children: This article focuses on the rights of children with disabilities. It says that children with disabilities have the right to special care and support to help them live a full and happy life. This includes healthcare, assessment, treatment, rehabilitation, and any other help they might need.

Children can expect that their health and well-being are important, and adults will do their best to keep them safe, healthy, and happy. The UNCRC is like a set of promises to make sure kids have a good, healthy start in life and that their voices are heard when it comes to their health.

Our Voice, Our Care

The NHS England – London Youth Steering Group has come up with four statements to help healthcare professionals understand what helps when providing them health and care support:

  • I am the expert of me, I know my mind and my body better than anyone, tap into that.
  • Accessing healthcare is complex (especially when you’re young), recognise how much it’s taken for me to get help here today.
  • Being listened to and valued helps me trust you, please know the little things really are the big things, a smile, cultural intelligence, a youth friendly environment, really do matter.
  • How you engage with me empowers and builds my confidence in my mind and body.

Watch our campaign video here and download our campaign toolkit to learn more and help share this work.