Information for the public

Treating you as an individual

Healthcare professionals and other people you come into contact with in the NHS should treat you with respect, kindness, dignity, compassion, understanding, courtesy and honesty. They should also respect your confidentiality, and should never talk about you in your presence without including you in the conversation.

All healthcare professionals who are directly involved in your care should introduce themselves and explain what their role is. Any students or other people present at consultations or meetings should also be introduced, and you should be able to decide whether you are happy for them to stay or would prefer them to leave.

Your condition and how it affects you

Your healthcare professional should treat you as an individual and make an effort to understand how your condition is affecting you. This involves listening to and respecting your views. They should talk with you about whether your family or work situation, or other aspects of your life, might be affecting your health and/or your ability to obtain treatment and to look after yourself. They should also ask you about your medical history and previous experiences of healthcare. They should talk with you about your mood, ask you whether you have any worries or concerns, and offer support if you need it.

Your individual circumstances

Healthcare services and care offered to you should reflect your preferences and your particular needs and circumstances, which should be assessed regularly.

Everyone should have equal access to NHS services, in agreement with the Equality Act 2010 which lists nine 'protected characteristics' (age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation). If you have any physical or learning disabilities, sight or hearing problems or difficulties with reading, understanding or speaking English, you should receive appropriate support so that you can participate fully in consultations and decisions about your care. Healthcare professionals should not make judgements or assumptions about you based on your appearance or any other personal characteristics.

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