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Wirral University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

The Accessible Information Standard

The Accessible Information Standard (AIS) was introduced by the Government in 2016 to make sure that people with a disability or sensory loss are given information in a way they can understand. It is now the law for the NHS and adult social care services to comply with AIS.

The Trust have been working towards implementation and are now pleased to confirm that with effect from 14 January 2019, phase 1 will commence (details of phases below).

The Accessible Information Standard directs and defines a specific, consistent approach to identifying, recording, flagging, sharing and meeting the information and communication support needs of patients, service users, carers and parents where those needs relate to a disability, impairment or sensory loss.

It is of particular relevance to individuals who are blind, partially blind, deaf or partially deaf or deafblind, and/or who have a learning disability, although it will support anyone with information or communication needs relating to a disability, impairment or sensory loss, for example people who have aphasia or a mental health condition which affects their ability to communicate.

The Standard applies to service providers across the NHS and adult social care system, and it specifically aims to improve the quality and safety of care received by individuals with information and communication needs, and their ability to be involved in autonomous decision-making about their health, care and well-being.

What does the accessible information standard require health and social care organisations to do?

As part of the accessible information standard, organisations that provide NHS or adult social care must do five specific things.

They must:

  • 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 standard way.
  • 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.           
  • 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.Take steps to ensure that people receive information which they can access and understand, and receive communication support if they need it.

Phase 1 will consist of:

  1. full roll out within outpatient and elective surgery areas (including SEAL, pre-op and adult day case areas)
  2. Pop-up alert will be activated in all areas where an individual identifies they have an information or communication need. Staff must take steps to ensure the needs are therefore met.

Phase 2 will consist of full implementation in all areas and is expected to commence in April 2019 following a review of phase 1.