What is the Accessible Information Standard?
The Accessible Information Standard is a new information standard for implementation by all organisations that provide NHS or adult social care, which include GP surgeries and NHS hospitals.
What do we mean by accessible information?
We know that not everyone communicates in the same way; for example some people read using braille or need larger print, others will use sign language or audio recordings. We need to ensure that we communicate with you in a way that meets your individual needs.
What does it aim to do?
The standard aims to ensure that people who have a disability, impairment or sensory loss receive information that they can access and understand and professional communication support if they need it.
Which patients does it apply to?
The standard applies to all patients and service users who have information and/or communication needs relating to a disability, impairment or sensory loss. It also applies to parents and the carers of patients/service users who have such information and/or communication needs where appropriate. Individuals most likely to be affected by the standard include people who are blind or deaf, who have some hearing and/or visual loss, people who are deaf/blind and people with a learning disability. However this list is not exhaustive.
What are hospitals required to do?
The standard tells organisations how to make information accessible to patients, service users and their carers and parents. This includes making sure that people get information in different formats if they need it, such as large print, easy read and via email. The standard also tells organisations how to support people’s communication needs, for example by offering support from a British Sign Language interpreter, deaf/blind manual interpreter or an advocate. As part of the standard, organisations that provide NHS or social care must do five things:
- Ask people if they have any information or communication needs, and find out how to meet their needs.
- Record those needs in a set way.
- Highlight a person’s file, so it is clear that they have information or communication needs, and clearly explain how those should be met.
- Share information about a person’s needs with other NHS and adult social care providers, when they have consent or permission to do so.
- Act to make sure that people get information in an accessible way and communication support if they need it.
What impact will the standard have?
Successful implementation of the standard aims to lead to improved outcomes and experiences, and the provision of safer and more personalised care and services to those individuals who come within the standard’s scope. It should lead to improvements in patient satisfaction and experience, patient safety, outcomes and patients’ ability to self-care and adhere to clinical and medical advice. The standard is expected to benefit both patients and organisations, for example by reducing ‘did not attend’ (DNA) rates. Other benefits include improved health and wellbeing among patients in the key affected groups due to increased take up of early intervention and prevention opportunities and the ability to take part in decision making around treatment/medical advice.
ROH’s approach to implementing the standard
At ROH we want to make sure that we are communicating with you in a way that is easy for you and that you can understand. We will do our best to ensure that your needs are met. Please help us to communicate effectively with you by making us aware of your specific needs.
More information is available at www.england.nhs.uk/accessibleinfo
If you have any questions, please contact us on