Human Rights in Healthcare - public sector

‘It is my aspiration that health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for’
Former United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan

Since 2006 we have been working with the Department of Health and NHS organisations to support the use of human rights approaches to improve health and social care. The five NHS Trusts involved in the human rights in healthcare project were Mersey Care NHS Trust, Heart of BirMersey Care NHS Trust training sessionmingham Teaching PCT, Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Trust, Southwark Health and Social Care and Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys Trust.

Each Trust produced human rights products such as training modules, questionnaires and assessments. These are available from the Department of Health's website. This work is now being led by Mersey Care, one of the original partners in the project, and BIHR continues to provide vital human rights support to this work. You can find out more on Mersey Care's Human Rights in Healthcare website

Mersey Care NHS Trust's Standing up for my rights group

Practical Resources


‘Human Rights in Healthcare - A Framework for Local Action' - Second Edition. A practical guide to assist people in NHS organisations to use human rights to support their core business of planning and delivering high quality healthcare for all.

‘Human Rights in Healthcare - A short introduction' A handy  booklet providing a simple introduction to human rights in healthcare. It is primarily aimed at frontline staff, including clinicians and support and administrative staff. It is also a useful introduction for directors, board members, managers and policy staff.




A series of national learning events were run throughout the project to raise awareness about the relevance of human rights approaches to health and social care, and to share learning from the project.

Independent evaluation


Ipsos Mori carried out independent evaluation of the five NHS Trusts' human rights work throughout the project. For example, you can read the 2008 report here. The independent evaluation found:

a human rights approach 'goes above and beyond good practice in providing renewed quality of care for service users, and staff are empowered to challenge care decisions.' (Ipsos Mori 2008, p.34)

For more information about the human rights in healthcare project please contact Helen Wildbore on 


BIHR provides training on human rights and healthcare. Find out more >>

10 June 2008