The Accessible Information Standard aims to make sure that people have access to information that they can understand and any communication support they might need.

The standard tells organisations how to make information accessible to patients, service users and their carers. This includes making sure that people get information in different formats if they need it, such as large print, braille, easy read and via email or text.

The Accessible Information Standard also tells organisations how to support people's communication needs, for example by offering support from a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter, deafblind manual interpreter or an advocate.

As part of the Accessible Information Standard, organisations that provide NHS care or adult social care must do five things. They must:

  1. 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.
  2. Highlight or flag the person's file or notes so it is clear that they have information or communication needs and how to meet those needs.
  3. 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.
  4. Take steps to ensure that people receive information which they can access and understand, and receive communication support if they need it.
  5. Organisations must follow the accessible information standard in full by 31 July 2016, the standard applies both to materials produced by the CCG, but also GP practices, so we will need to support them to ensure they are compliant with the new standards.

The changes also have major implications for provider organisations and we have a responsibility to ensure they are meeting the standard in the materials they produce for patients.

North West Surrey CCG has a legal and moral responsibility under the Equality Act 2010 to provide any of its documents, leaflets, electronic resources in an alternative format if requested.

A copy of North West Surrey CCG's Accessible Communications Policy Summary can be found here.