In England, all providers of NHS or publicly funded adult social care services must meet the legal requirements of NHS England’s Accessible Information Standard.
The Standard sets out clear guidance on what you must do to make your services accessible to people with disabilities and sensory loss. This includes the needs of parents, guardians or carers. The Standard establishes a consistent approach to make sure people with disabilities and sensory loss really understand the information you give them – and can participate fully in discussions about their treatment and care.
To meet the legal requirements of the Standard, you must:
- Identify – ask people with a disability and/or sensory loss if they need help to be contacted, to communicate well, and to understand written information.
- Record – you must record individuals' communication and information needs in a standardised way.
- Flag – these details, while confidential, must be highly visible or linked to an electronic alert to prompt your staff to take action.
- Share – you must share an individual's communication and information needs with other services as part of a routine referral, or discharge and handover process, in line with data protection requirements.
- Meet – people with disabilities and sensory loss must be able to contact your services when they need to, communicate well during appointments and understand information they’re given.
Compliance with the Accessible Information Standard is a legal requirement for all providers of NHS and adult social care under section 250 of the Health and Social Care Act 2012.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has also announced that they will look at how NHS and adult social care services are implementing the Standard as part of their inspection work. From October 2017, all published CQC inspection reports will include information on how NHS and adult social care services are applying the Standard.
We've put together some simple steps you can take to make sure you’re meeting the requirements of the Standard – and to make sure your services are accessible for people with hearing loss:
- Making your GP surgery accessible
- Guidance for hospitals and other urgent and emergency care services
- Making your social care services accessible
To find out more about the Accessible Information Standard, visit the NHS England website.