NHS England has enforced a new framework to ensure clearer healthcare information for disabled people and their carers.
The Accessible Information Standard aims to ensure that people with a disability, impairment or sensory loss have service information and support that’s easily read and understood.
Examples of the types of support that might be required include large print or braille leaflets, or using a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter.
All organisations that provide NHS care or adult social care are required to follow the new standard, including GP practices.
As part of the accessible information standard, these organisations must do five things including asking people if they have any information or communication needs and find out how to meet their needs and record those needs clearly and in a set way.
The standard also suggests sharing 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.
The Accessible Information Standard took more than two years to develop and was overseen by NHS England, working in partnership with the Health and Social Care Information Centre.
The Royal National Institute Of Blind People, Action on Hearing Loss, Sense, CHANGE and independent patient representatives were also in on the standard’s development.
The standard was first published in July 2015, giving organisations a year to prepare to meet the requirements by 31 July 2016.
Anu Singh, director of patient and public participation at NHS England, said: “Good quality, accessible health and care information is essential, particularly for patients with the greatest needs.
“We must strive for equality across the health service and this new framework will help patients with disabilities receive improved standards of care and be more involved in how that care is delivered.”