Accessible Information Standard
NELFT, like all organisations that provide NHS care or adult social care, is implementing the new Accessible Information Standard, which came into force on 31 July 2016.
The Accessible Information Standard aims to make sure that people who have a disability or sensory loss get information that they can access and understand, and any communication support that they need.
The Accessible Information Standard, which also applies to GP practices, aims to ensure that people who have a disability, impairment or sensory loss are provided with information that they can easily read or understand with support so they can communicate effectively with services. Examples of the types of support that might be required include large print, Easyread, braille or using a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter.
All healthcare professionals at NELFT must identify and record information and communication needs with patients and service users:
- At the first interaction or registration with their service
- As part of on-going routine interaction with the service by existing patients and service users.
The Accessible Information Standard took more than two years to develop overseen by NHS England, working in partnership with the Health and Social Care Information Centre and with a range of charities including the RNIB, Action on Hearing Loss, Sense, CHANGE and independent patient representatives.
How to comply with the AIS
As part of the accessible information standard, our healthcare staff who interact with service users or patients must do five things:
- Ask people if they have any information or communication needs, and find out how to meet their needs.
- Record those needs clearly and in a set way.
- Highlight or ‘flag’ the person’s file or notes so it is clear that they have information or communication needs and how those needs should be met.
- Share information about people’s information and communication needs with other providers of NHS and adult social care, when they have consent or permission to do so.
- Take steps to ensure that people receive information which they can access and understand, and receive communication support if they need it.
What does the Standard include?
The Standard says that patients, service users, carers and parents with a disability or sensory loss should:
- Be able to contact, and be contacted by, services in accessible ways, for example via email, text message or Text Relay.
- Receive information and correspondence in formats they can read and understand, for example in audio, braille, easy read or large print.
- Be supported by a communication professional at appointments if this is needed to support conversation, for example a British Sign Language interpreter.
- Get support from health and care staff and organisations to communicate, for example to lip-read or use a hearing aid.
What is happening at NELFT to implement the AIS
A steering group, made up of operational leads, frontline healthcare professionals, corporate staff, RiO and SystemOne IT staff, and equality and diversity representatives has been set up to oversee the implementation of the AIS at NELFT.
The group, led by Bob Edwards, Redbridge integrated care director, will soon be sending operational leads a briefing on how to embed the AIS in your service, and who to contact if you need information in other formats or require help.
There is more information about the Accessible Information Standard, including the Specification and Implementation Guidance, on the NHS England website at www.england.nhs.uk/accessibleinfo
Charities including Action on Hearing Loss, CHANGE, Sense, and the Royal National Institute of Blind people (RNIB) have also published information.