Accessible Information Standard

Making health and social care information accessible

Introduction

From August 1 2016 onwards, all organisations that provide NHS care or adult social care are legally required to follow the Accessible Information Standard.

The Standard aims to make sure that people who have a disability, impairment or sensory loss are provided with information that they can easily read and understand and with support so they can communicate effectively with health and social care services. It is of particular relevance to individuals who are blind, d/Deaf, deaf blind and / or who have a learning disability, although it will support anyone with information or communication needs relating to a disability, impairment or sensory loss, for example people who have aphasia, autism or a mental health condition which affects their ability to communicate.

The Standard applies to service providers across the NHS and adult social care system, and it specifically aims to improve the quality and safety of care received by individuals with information and communication needs, and their ability to be involved in autonomous decision-making about their health, care and wellbeing.

Further detailed information on the Accessible Information Standard can be found at the NHS England Website: Accessible Information Standard

Alternative formats of information can be found below:
Accessible Information Standard – Summer 2016 Easy Read Format
Accessible Information Standard – Summer 2016 BSL Video and Subtitles Format
Accessible Information Standard – Summer 2016 Audio Format.

If you would like a copy of this introduction in an alternative format, for example braille, please contact england.nhs.participation@nhs.net or telephone 0113 825 0861.

The accessible information standard also tells organisations how they should make sure that people get any support with communication that they need, for example support from a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter, deafblind manual interpreter or an advocate.

What does the accessible information standard tell organisations to do?

As part of the accessible information standard, organisations that provide NHS or adult social care must do five things. They must:

  • Ask people if they have any information or communication needs, and find out how to meet their needs.
  • Record those needs clearly and in a set way.
  • Highlight or flag the person’s file or notes so it is clear that they have information or communication needs and how to meet those needs.
  • Share information about people’s information and communication needs with other providers of NHS and adult social care, when they have consent or permission to do so.
  • Take steps to ensure that people receive information which they can access and understand, and receive communication support if they need it.

Who must follow the accessible information standard?

All organisations that provide NHS or adult social care must follow the standard. This includes NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts, and GP practices. Organisations that commission (pay for and make decisions about) NHS and adult social care services must also make sure that they support the standard.

Why must organisations follow the standard?

Organisations must follow the standard by law. This is explained in Section 250 of the Health and Social Care Act 2012.
Access to Information at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS FT
Support for the Accessible Information Standard is provided through the Trusts Patient advice and liaison service (PALS). This service will help support individual needs include access to alternative formats, advice and guidance and access to interpreters. Access to this services can be obtained through the Website or by ringing the service directly using the telephone numbers provided on its webpage.
In addition, the Trusts website provides access to patient leaflets using accessibility technology call Browse Aloud. All leaflets can be found under the Patient Leaflets section and can be opened using Browse Aloud to provide accessibility support.

More information
There is more information about the accessible information standard, including the Specification and Implementation Guidance, on the NHS England website at www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/accessibleinfo/
More information, including more information in alternative formats, will be published on the NHS England website during summer and autumn 2015. Charities including Action on Hearing Loss, CHANGE, Sense, and the Royal National Institute of Blind people (RNIB) will also be publishing information.