Know your rights

Everyone has the right to information and education about how to take care of themselves and what they are entitled to within the health and social care.
Healthwatch staff member talking to a member of the public about their experience

Healthwatch Manchester helps individuals to gain access to, understand, and use information to promote and maintain good health and make the best use of local services and care support.

We can:

  • Explain your rights and what standards to expect from services
  • Help you find out about funding for health & social care
  • Help you to access services and find your way through care ‘pathways’ – find the right service for you
  • Put you in touch with support groups, voluntary and community organisations
  • We can register your concerns and provide information on making complaints
  • Pass on your reports of excellent services and care
  • If you need advocacy we can refer you to the Independent Complaints Advocacy (ICA)

What are my rights?

Your rights include the following. Just click the link below to be taken to further information.


You have the right to receive NHS services free of charge, apart from certain limited exceptions sanctioned by Parliament.

Find out more on the NHS website:

Access and Right to Choose

You have the right to access NHS services. You will not be refused access on unreasonable grounds.

You have the right to express a preference for using a particular doctor within your GP practice, and for the practice to try to comply.

You have the right to choose your GP practice, and to be accepted by that practice unless there are reasonable grounds to refuse, in which case you will be informed of those reasons.

You have the right to make choices about the services commissioned by NHS bodies and to information to support these choices.

You have the right to choose the organisation that provides your NHS care.

How services should be Commissioned and planned

You have the right to expect your NHS to assess the health requirements of your community and to commission and put in place the services to meet those needs as considered necessary, and in the case of public health services commissioned by local authorities, to take steps to improve the health of the local community.

How you should be treated

You have the right not to be unlawfully discriminated against in the provision of NHS services including on grounds of gender, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, religion, belief, gender reassignment, pregnancy, and maternity or marital or civil partnership status.

You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect, in accordance with your human rights.

Waiting Time

You have the right, in certain circumstances, to go to other European Economic Area countries or Switzerland for treatment which would be available to you through your NHS commissioner.

You have the right to access certain services commissioned by NHS bodies within maximum waiting times, or for the NHS to take all reasonable steps to offer you a range of suitable alternative providers if this is not possible.

Service Quality

You have the right to be treated with a professional standard of care, by appropriately qualified and experienced staff, in a properly approved or registered organisation that meets required levels of safety and quality.

You have the right to expect NHS bodies to monitor, and make efforts to improve continuously, the quality of healthcare they commission or provide. This includes improvements to the safety, effectiveness and experience of services.

Giving Feedback & Complaints

You have the right to have any complaint you make about NHS services acknowledged within three working days and to have it properly investigated.

You have the right to discuss the manner in which the complaint is to be handled and to know the period within which the investigation is likely to be completed and the response sent.

You have the right to be kept informed of progress and to know the outcome of any investigation into your complaint, including an explanation of the conclusions and confirmation that any action needed in consequence of the complaint has been taken or is proposed to be taken.

See the Manchester Health & Social Care Complaints Charter section below.

You have the right to take your complaint to the independent Parliamentary and Health Service

Ombudsman or Local Government Ombudsman, if you are not satisfied with the way your complaint has been dealt with by the NHS.

Information and involvement in discussions about your care

You have the right to be given information about the test and treatment options available to you, what they involve, and their risks and benefits.

You have the right to be involved in discussions and decisions about your health and care, including your end-of-life care, and to be given information to enable you to do this. Where appropriate this right includes your family and carers.

Patient Information & Data Protection

You have the right of access to your own health records and to have any factual inaccuracies corrected.

You have the right to privacy and confidentiality and to expect the NHS to keep your confidential information safe and secure.

You have the right to be informed about how your information is used.

Privacy & Confidentiality

You have the right to request that your confidential information is not used beyond your own care and treatment and to have your objections considered, and where your wishes cannot be followed, to be told the reasons including the legal basis.

Legal rights and claims

You have the right to make a claim for judicial review if you think you have been directly affected by an unlawful act or decision of an NHS body or local authority.

You have the right to compensation where you have been harmed by negligent treatment.

Accepting or Refusing Treatment

You have the right to accept or refuse treatment that is offered to you, and not to be given any physical examination or treatment unless you have given valid consent. If you do not have the capacity to do so, consent must be obtained from a person legally able to act on your behalf, or the treatment must be in your best interests.

What is the role of Healthwatch?

With all the changes to health and care services, it’s not always clear where you should go to report an urgent issue, to make a complaint, or for further information.

Healthwatch Manchester can help you find the right services to suit your needs through our Information & Signposting Service.

We cannot give you advice or make specific recommendations but we can help you make an informed decision in finding the right health and social care service whether it is provided by the NHS, the Council, or a voluntary /community organisation.

0300 078 0669

Healthwatch Manchester, Canada House, 3 Chepstow Street, Manchester, M1 5FW

Manchester Health & Social Care Complaints Charter

A Complaints, Comments & Feedback Charter for Manchester.

By signing Manchester’s Health and Social Care Complaints Charter, the organisations below have agreed to:

  • Make health and social care better for everyone
  • Value your comments, suggestions and complaints
  • Ensure all complaints are thoroughly and efficiently investigated and lead to long term service improvement
  • Treat you with courtesy, respect and sensitivity at all times

Charter signatories will:

  • Acknowledge your complaint within 3 working days
  • Explain how your complaint will be managed and be clear about any information which is needed as a result of the complaint
  • Give you the name and contact details of the person or team investigating your complaint
  • When asked will readily update you on the progress of your complaint if you contact the complaints team during the investigation
  • Ensure your complaint does not adversely affect your ongoing or future health or care in any way

It is acknowledged that complaints form only a part of overall feedback and the greater commitment to service improvement.

This Charter applies to any person receiving health and/or social care in Manchester whether or not they reside in Manchester.

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