Publication - Advice and guidance

Patient rights and responsibilities: charter

Last updated: 30 Nov 2021 - see all updates
Published: 27 Jun 2019
Population Health Directorate
Part of:
Health and social care

The Charter of Patient Rights and Responsibilities (the ‘charter’) summarises what you are entitled to when you use NHS services and receive NHS care in Scotland, and what you can do if you feel that your rights have not been respected. We have produced an easy read version of this charter at

Patient rights and responsibilities: charter
Further information

Further information

For information about NHS services in Scotland you can contact NHS inform

NHS inform is Scotland's national health-information service. It helps the people in Scotland to make informed decisions about their own health and the health of the people they care for.

The NHS inform website at provides information about:

  • illnesses and conditions;
  • common symptoms and self-help guidance;
  • tests or treatments, such as blood tests, biopsies, scans or surgery;
  • healthy living and how to look after your mental and physical wellbeing, including advice on stopping smoking, eating well and keeping active;
  • accessing health and care services in Scotland, and your rights and responsibilities when using them; and
  • NHS services in Scotland, including the names, addresses, opening times and service details for pharmacies, GP practices and dental practices (Scotland's Service Directory).

The NHS inform helpline on 0800 22 44 88 can help if you are well and have a question about your health or local NHS services.

  • Lines are open 8am to 10pm, Monday to Friday, and 9am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday.
  • LanguageLine can help callers who can't (or prefer not to) speak English. It's a free service that you can ask for by calling the NHS inform helpline and asking for an interpreter.
  • People who use British Sign Language can phone using contactSCOTLAND-BSL (, who are open 24 hours.

NHS inform webchat connects you with the NHS inform health-information team and works through your web browser on-screen.

For information, help and independent advice you can contact Patient Advice and Support Service (PASS)

PASS is free, confidential and independent and is run by Citizens Advice. Fully trained professional advisers can help and support you to:

  • give feedback or comments, raise concerns or make complaints about healthcare provided by the NHS in Scotland;
  • understand your rights and responsibilities as a patient;
  • write letters, go to meetings and make phone calls; and
  • get information and advice on health and community services that offer extra support with healthcare needs.

Contact PASS

Information about integrated health and social care

The way in which health and social care services are planned and delivered across Scotland changed when the Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Act 2014 came into effect on 1 April 2016. Under the 2014 act, health boards and local authorities must set up an integration authority to plan, provide and monitor all adult social care, primary and community healthcare, and some specific hospital services, such as accident and emergency, and general medicine.

The 2014 act also allows health boards and local authorities to delegate certain other services, such as children's health and social care services and criminal justice social work, to integration authorities. The act sets out principles for improving patients' wellbeing and sets the national health and wellbeing outcomes which apply across all integrated health and social care services. Health and social care integration is about improving people's experiences of care, as well as the quality of care.

You can find out more about health and social care integration on the Scottish Government Health and Social Care Integration page ( and the Health and Social Care Scotland website (

The Health and Social Care Standards came into effect in April 2018, and are supported by five principles:

  • dignity and respect;
  • compassion;
  • be included;
  • responsive care and support; and
  • wellbeing.

The standards are not rights, but set out what those who receive care (and their families and carers) expect. At their heart is the recognition that everyone should have access to high-quality care and support tailored to their particular needs and choices.

Not every statement will be relevant for every service. However, in understanding your rights as part of the Patient Charter, you may also want to think about your experience of care and how your own needs and choices can be met.

Find out more about the Health and Social Care Standards on the Scottish Government Health and Social Care Integration page (



First published: 27 Jun 2019 Last updated: 30 Nov 2021 -