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The Accessible Information Standard

Thank you to Healthwatch Suffolk for sharing this information.

The Accessible Information Standard is mandatory for all organisations that provide NHS or adult social care. Here’s some key information about what it means for your rights when it comes to receiving information from services.

What should you expect?

The standard aims to make sure that people who have a disability, impairment or sensory loss get information that they can access and understand and that they get any communication support they need from health and care services.

Services are required to provide alternative formats where required, such as braille, large print, and easy read. They must also support people to communicate, for example by arranging a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter, deafblind manual interpreter or an advocate.

1 – You should be asked about your needs

NHS and social care services should ask if you have any communication needs, and ask how these needs can be met. This might include the need for specific formats of information (e.g. written information, braille or telephone contact) or support (e.g. a British Sign Language interpreter).

2 – Your needs and preferences should be recorded

The service should make a note about your communication needs and preferences so that you don’t have to repeat this information each time you make contact with the service. Ideally, your communication needs should be linked to your records.

3 – Staff should be alerted to your needs

Your needs and preferences should be highlighted in your records so that staff know how to communicate with you before they make contact. This should avoid them using methods of communication that you cannot use or understand.

4 – Your needs should be shared with other services

When you are referred to other services, your communication needs and preferences should be shared with them too. Services can usually only do this with your permission, and this should have been discussed with you when you first had your needs recorded.

5 – Your needs should be met!

Once you have told the service about your needs for accessible information and support, they should be met every time. You should not need to remind the service repeatedly, and you should be able to receive your care, your way.

The NHS has recently launched the 'Help Us, Help You' campaign. The campaign encourages people to contact their GP if they are worried about a symptom that could be cancer. Find out more: NHS.uk/cancersymptoms ...

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