Accessible Information Standard

We want to get better at communicating with our patients.

Since August 2016, all organisations that provide NHS care or adult social care are legally required to follow the Accessible Information Standard (AIS).

The Accessible Information standard 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 receive support so they can communicate effectively. The Standard provides clear direction for a dramatic improvement in the ability of the NHS to meet the information and communication support needs of disabled people.

Successful implementation will lead to improved outcomes and experiences, and the provision of safer and more personalised care and services. We want to make sure patients can read and understand the information we send them.

To ensure that people using our services receive information in the way they can access and understand there are five basic steps we should follow:

  • Ask: identify / find out if an individual has any communication / information needs relating to a disability or sensory loss and if so what they are.
  • Record: record those needs in a clear, unambiguous and standardised way in electronic and / or paper based record / administrative systems / documents.
  • Alert/flag/highlight: ensure that recorded needs are ‘highly visible’ whenever the individual’s record is accessed, and prompt for action.
  • Share: include information about individuals’ information / communication needs as part of existing data sharing processes (and in line with existing information governance frameworks).
  • Act: take steps to ensure that individuals receive information which they can access and understand, and receive communication support if they need it.

More resources are available from the NHS England https://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/accessibleinfo

What are we doing to implement AIS?

There are a number of actions we are taking to implement the AIS, these are:

  • We are trialling asking patients about their communications needs when they arrive to main outpatients.
  • We are liaising with the Shropshire Rapid Assessment Service (RAS) to include patients communication needs on the GP referral form
  • We have put up posters for patients and staff to contact PALS if patients need communication support such as having an interpreter or a letter or leaflet in bigger print.
  • We are exploring how to share this information between wards and departments on our IT systems
  • We have included a sentence on appointment letters to advise  patients to let  us know if they need help and support
  • We have advertised to wards and department that there is a portable hearing loop system on switch board for patient to use.
  • We are updating our website about the AIS and looking into audio translating
  • We will put a portable hearing loop system on  the main outpatient desk

If patients do need extra communication support  for any interpreter or  being signposted to other forms of translation/interpretation for sensory impairment please contact the PALS Team on 01691 404608.

For example if patients are hard of hearing we can arrange that that staff speak up when communicating or that communication is via a relative or carer instead.