News13th August 2014

Patients to benefit from new NHS England ‘Accessible Information Standard’

Good news for deaf patients in England, accessible information is on the way

by Sarah Lawrence

Date: 13 August 2014
Immediate Release 

Patients to benefit from new NHS England ‘Accessible Information Standard’

PATIENTS in England will soon get better access to information formats such as large print, braille and British sign language interpreters following the draft of a guide to drive up quality.

Making sure hospitals, GPs and all NHS and adult social services providers give people information in the best format for their needs is the aim of NHS England’s proposed new ‘Accessible Information Standard’ being consulted on from today (August 13).

It means all organisations will need to find out if a patient has extra communication needs because of a disability or sensory loss, and take steps to meet those needs.  

This could include large print, braille, easy read or via e mail or a British sign language interpreter.

Over winter 1,200 people shared their experiences and opinions in an engagement exercise to inform a draft version of the guide people can now give their views on (link).

Luke O’Shea, NHS England’s Head of Patient Participation, said: “Giving good information and advice is the lifeblood of the NHS. For certain groups of patients this needs to be provided in alternative formats, such as sending an email rather than offering printed advice, so it can be read by voice software.

“Many organisations already have good arrangements in place for patients with additional communication needs but the ‘Accessible Information Standard’ will bring clarity and consistency as well as improving quality.

“We know it isn’t always easy to predict patients’ needs in advance but it is in everyone’s interest to ensure patients get information they can act upon. We look forward to receiving comments from as many people as possible during this consultation to ensure we get it right.”

Organisations should already be providing information in alternative formats for patients but this is the first time a national standard has been introduced.

This should bring consistency and lead to efficiencies with fewer missed appointments, misunderstandings and complaints.

There will be a list of types of communication support and information format which organisations will need to use to ensure everyone records things in the same way. The proposed list forms part of the consultation.

The guide also states organisations should ask people if they have any information or communication needs when they see them for the first time.

NHS England will be providing implementation advice to organisations as well as publishing tools templates and ‘how to’ guides online.

The draft will be considered for approval by the Standardisation Committee for Care Information (SCCI) in August and the aim is for it to be approved in spring 2015, following which it is currently proposed that organisations will have 12 months to comply, although this is also part of consultation.

A pilot scheme will be run in autumn 2014, and organisations interested should visit <> for more information.

How compliance with the standard will be assessed is part of the consultation.

 Give your view at <>
The consultation closes on November 6 2014.

Article by Sarah Lawrence

posted in Community / News

13th August 2014