Healthcare which respects, protects and fulfils our human rights has an important role in ensuring we can all live dignified lives and participate as active members of our communities. Human rights are about each and every one of us, no matter who we are or where we are from. Human rights are the hallmark of a democratic and fair society; providing the rule book for how public authorities, such as NHS healthcare organisations, should treat us. In this way human rights provide a vital safety-net for us all, setting down in law the basic minimums that everyone should have simply because we are human.

A human rights approach means putting the human being and their legally protected rights at the centre of policymaking and day-to-day practice. It can be applied to all areas of public life that affect human rights, including housing, education, policing, social care and (the focus of this site) health.

Putting human rights into practice – a human rights approach – means moving beyond the spirit of values and expressly using the language of the law to help achieve positive change. For more on this, see How We Have Approached This Work. To read about the impact of using a human rights approach in healthcare, visit Changing Lives for good practice examples of improved outcomes for people using services and Changing Organisations for good practice examples of improved service design and delivery.

This site contains all the work BIHR has done on protecting and promoting human rights in healthcare settings. This encompasses work on mental health and mental capacity, hosptial discharge, learning disability and/or autism, health and well-being advocacy, end of life care, midwifery and nursing. Some of our guides are designed to assist individuals, while others are aimed at advocates or practitioners. As these guides are aimed at different groups and have been produced out of different projects, they are not all in a uniform structure and format. For more information see Resources.