RNIB welcomes accessible information standard

NHS England to establish a new standard which will ensure that people with a disability have access to information in a format they can easily understand

01 Apr 2015 by Emily McCormick

A new standard launched by NHS England on 3 July will ensure that people with a disability, sight impairment or sensory loss are provided with information that they can easily understand.

The Accessible Information Standard requires all organisations which deliver NHS or social care to provide blind and partially sighted patients with information in an accessible format.

The standard has been in development for two years and will be implemented across England by 31 July 2016. 

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has welcomed the introduction of the standard. CEO of the RNIB, Lesley-Anne Alexander, said: "This announcement by NHS England of a new mandatory accessible information standard is a massive step forward for blind and partially sighted people everywhere.

"We have campaigned for accessible health information for many years, joining forces with blind and partially sighted people across the country to get the NHS to make this right a reality." 

As part of the new standard, organisations affected must comply to asking people if they have any information or communication needs and recording them; highlighting in the patient’s file their information or communication needs and how those needs should be met; take steps to ensure that people receive information which they can access and understand; and receive communication support if they need it.

NHS England’s national director for patients and information, Tim Kelsey, said: "It is vital that everybody understands the information they receive about their health and wellbeing. The Accessible Information Standard will mean that people with disabilities are not left in the dark, leaving them with the peace of mind to fully focus on their care."

Ms Alexander added: "We urge all NHS organisations and local authorities to implement the new standard without delay."

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