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Accessible Information Standard Comes into Force

On 1st August 2016, Accessible Information Standard (AIS) came into force which will assure clearer health and care information for individuals with disabilities and their caretakers in the UK.

The new standard must be followed by all organisations that provide NHS and adult social care services. This includes NHS Trusts and NHS Foundation Trusts, GP practices, independent workers and providers from the private and voluntary sectors.

The aim of AIS is to make sure that people with disability or sensual loss have access to the information in a way they can easily read or understand and are provided any communication support they might need. Large print, braille, easy-read materials, British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter, deaf blind manual interpreter or an advocate are some examples of support that might be needed.

Following five things should be done as part of the AIS by all organisations.

  • Ask disable people about their information or communication requirements and find out ways to meet their requirements.
  • Record those requirements clearly in an approved way.
  • Emphasise or Highlight the person’s file in order to make clear that they have communication or information needs and how those requirements should be met.
  • If the organisations have permission or agreement then share info about people’s communication and information requirements with other providers of NHS and adult social care.
  • Take some steps in order to make sure that people have received knowledge which they can access, understand and receive communication assistance if they need.

NHS England works in partnership with the Health and Social Care Information Centre and with different organization, including CHANGE, RNIB, Action on Hearing Loss, Sense and independent patient representatives for more than 2 years to develop and overseen the Accessible Information Standard.

Director of Patient and Public Participation at NHS England, Anu Singh said that easily understood or appreciated health and care info is necessary, especially for patients with the utmost needs. NHS must endeavour for equality across the health service and this new standard will benefit patients with disabilities get better quality care and involve them in how that care is provided.  

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