The Charter of Patient Rights and Responsibilities

The Charter of Patient Rights and Responsibilities (the ‘charter’) summarises what you're entitled to when you:

  • use NHS services
  • receive NHS care in Scotland

It also covers what you can do if you feel that your rights have not been respected.

The Charter of Patient Rights and Responsibilities (

What's in the Patient Charter?

The charter also explains what's expected of you when using the NHS in Scotland. Some of your responsibilities are set out in law. Others are what everyone is expected to do to help the NHS work effectively.

The charter supports the principle of mutual respect. Everyone who uses and provides NHS services has a right to be treated as an individual. They should also be treated with consideration, dignity and respect.

The information in the charter is divided into the following areas:

Who can use the charter

The charter is for everyone who accesses and uses NHS services and support in any part of Scotland. That includes patients, their carers, family members and NHS staff.

What's meant by NHS services

Throughout the charter, the terms ‘NHS services’ and ‘NHS staff’ are used. This refers to the services provided by:

  • your local health board and the staff they employ
  • special health boards
  • the Common Services Agency (known as National Services Scotland)
  • Healthcare Improvement Scotland.

This will also normally include those who provide NHS primary care services like:

  • GP's
  • dentists
  • opticians
  • pharmacists and their staff

Publications and alternative formats

Last updated:
16 May 2023