NHS England reviewing Accessible Information Standard.

A review of the implementation and impact of the Accessible Information Standard is underway in England.

The Standard was introduced in August 2016 and aims to “make sure that people who have a disability, impairment or sensory loss are provided with information that they can easily read or understand and with support so they can communicate effectively with health and social care services.”

Following a period to allow implementation of the standard, all organisations providing NHS care or adult social care are now legally obliged to comply with the Standard. The review is being conducted to ensure the standard is fit for purpose and looks 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.

Surveys for different stakeholders including supplier organisations have been issued, and responses should be returned by March 10. 

“Depending on the findings, revised versions of the Specification and / or Implementation Guidance for the Standard might be issued. However, there will be no substantive changes to the overall scope of the Standard,” said NHS England.

Olivia Butterworth, Head of Public Voice for NHS England, said the publication of the Standard last summer “reached a real milestone in our efforts to improve access to health and care information and communication support for people with a disability, impairment or sensory loss.

“We have been told about some fantastic work going on in local areas, and we’re really keen to learn more about this, as well as to understand some of the challenges organisations may be facing with full implementation of the Standard,” she added. “Of course, we also need to understand the experiences of people with a disability, impairment or sensory loss if we are to really understand how the Standard is working and what improvements might be helpful.”