Accessible Information Standard
On Friday 3 July 2015, it was announced that The Accessible Information Standard (also known as SCCI1605) had been approved. The Accessible Information Standard sets out what health and social care providers need to do to make sure that they provide information in accessible formats and communication support for appointments where appropriate.
Who will benefit from this Standard?
"The scope of the standard extends to individuals (patients and service users, and where appropriate the parents and carers of patients and service users) who have information and / or communication support needs which are related to or caused by a disability, impairment or sensory loss."
This means that if you are deafblind or have a dual sensory loss and need information such as appointment letters in a format other than standard print, or an interpreter for a health or social care appointment, this must be provided for you.
The Standard doesn't cover those who need information translated because English isn't their first language, or other aspects of accessibility in care such as signage or hospital transport.
Who needs to follow the Standard?
The Standard must be carried out by all providers of NHS and publicly funded social care. This will include hospitals, GPs, social care services, pharmacies and others.
How does the Standard work?
There are five steps that providers need to take to implement the standard:
Identify the communication and information needs of those who use their service
Record the communication and information needs they have identified: clearly and consistently on the individual's record, recording their needs not why they have those needs i.e. "requires BSL interpreter" not "person is d/Deaf".
Have a consistent flagging system so that if a member of staff opens the individual's record it is immediately brought to their attention if the person has a communication or information need.
Share the identified information and communication needs of the individual when appropriate; for example a GP referring a patient to the hospital including the information that the person needs a deafblind manual interpreter in the referral letter so that the hospital can arrange it for the upcoming appointment.
Meet the communication and information needs identified. For example, send an appointment letter in Braille or book an interpreter for an appointment.
When will this Standard come into force?
Services can start implementing the Standard immediately but must be completing steps one and two by 1 April 2016 and all five steps by 31 July 2016.
What do I need to do?
If you have information or communication needs:
Information quoted from https://www.sense.org.uk/content/accessible-information-standard-England
The links below lead to websites which provide useful information relating to healthcare in different formats and languages:
Easy Read Health Leaflets http://www.easyhealth.org.uk/categories/health-leaflets
NHS leaflets in other languages http://www.nhs.uk/aboutNHSChoices/aboutnhschoices/accessibility/Pages/other-languages-section.aspx
NHS videos http://www.nhs.uk/Video/Pages/bsl-tinnitus.aspx?searchtype=Tag&searchterm=Sign+language&
Further information on advocacy services which can offer support when dealing with organisations:
NHS Choices http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/social-care-and-support-guide/Pages/advocacy-services.aspx
Independent Advocacy http://independentadvocacy.org/
Beacon / Continuing Healthcare http://www.beaconchc.co.uk/
POhWER (support when making complaints to the NHS) http://www.pohwer.net/help-to-make-a-complaint-44.html