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Accessible Information Standard

About the standard

The Accessible Information Standard came into effect from 1 August 2016. Minor changes were made in August 2017, after a review by NHS England.

Organisations that provide publicly-funded care and health services need to provide information in a way that people with a sensory or learning disability can understand.

They must also provide communication support where necessary, for example, a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter.

Organisations must do these five things:

  • Ask you if you have any information or communication needs and find out how to meet your needs.
  • Record your needs clearly and in a set way.
  • Highlight or flag your file or notes so it is clear you have information or communication needs, and how to meet those needs.
  • Share information about your information and communication needs with other providers of NHS and adult social care. They will need your consent to do this.
  • Take steps to make sure that you get information which you can access and understand, and get communication support if you need it.

The Standard applies to patients and carers who need this support.


Read our report - Accessible Information as Standard 

Between October 2016 and the summer of 2017, our Healthwatch spoke to over 180 people about their experiences of getting accessible information when they used health or care services. We found that many people were not getting information in a way they could read or understand.

Our new report, ‘Accessible Information as Standard’, calls on health and care service to improve the ways they provide information for people with learning and sensory disabilities. It also highlights the need for better awareness of the standard among both health professionals and members of the public.

Read our report here


For more information 

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