The Accessible Information Standard applies to all organisations that provide NHS or adult social care services, including practices. It became a legal requirement from the 1st April 2016 under Section 250 of the Health & Social Care Act 2012 and providers were required to have complied by July 2016.

To comply with the standard practices must ensure patients and carers with a disability, impairment or sensory loss can:

  • Get information they can access and understand
  • Receive any communication support they need

To support practices to achieve this a free Lunch & Learn package has been produced in conjunction with West Hampshire ICB and can be accessed by clicking here.

In connection to the Lunch & Learn package the following are resources that practices may wish to use:

To help keep information up to date and to collect information from your existing patients, it is useful to include the ‘Communication needs’ on any forms you use.

You could also ask patients on your website, newsletters, waiting room, patient information leaflet etc to let you know if they have any communication needs.

NHS England have issued guidance on the Accessible Information Standard –  the Lunch & Learn package provides an overview.

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“The Accessible Information Standard – Introduction to Implementation and Towards Excellence” is available from the e-learning for health website

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New Accessible Information Standard Online Forum

The Patient Information Forum (PIF), supported by NHS England, launched an online group to support organisations with following the Accessible Information Standard. The group is free to join, and is for anyone involved in implementing the Accessible Information Standard, or producing and providing accessible health and care information.

The new group will be an online space where users can connect with each other and:

  • Keep up to date with NHS England guidance, support and events
  • Share accessible information resources and guidance
  • Take part in discussions and access best practice support on accessible information
  • Share their questions, challenges and successes

You can join the PIF accessible information group here

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Plans for post-implementation review

During January to March 2017, there was a review of the Standard. The review looked at:

  • How organisations have implemented the Standard;
  • The impact of the Standard, including organisations’ and service users’ experiences;
  • Any aspects of the Standard which need updating or clarifying.

Feedback from the review was used to inform revised versions of the specification and implementation guidance, published in 2017 and available on the NHS England website (see link under ‘Helpful Resources’ above).

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