New framework set to simplify care information for people with sight loss

Post date: 
Thursday, 9 July 2015
BLITAB braille tablet

A new law is set to come into force aimed at ensuring disabled patients receive clear and accessible information from healthcare providers.

Next year, The Accessible Information Standard will be implemented, which means people who have a disability, impairment or sensory loss with be given information that they can easily read or understand such as braille, large print or via a British Sign Language interpreter.
 
All organisations that provide NHS or adult social care are required to follow the new standard, including NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts, and GP practices. As part of the accessible information standard, these organisations 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 set way.
  • Highlight or ‘flag’ the person’s file or notes so it is clear that they have information or communication needs and how those needs should be met.
  • 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.
Tim Kelsey, NHS England’s National Director for Patients and Information, said: “It is vital that everybody understands the information they receive about their health and wellbeing. The Accessible Information Standard will mean that people with disabilities are not left in the dark, leaving them with the peace of mind to fully focus on their care.”
 
RNIB's CEO Lesley-Anne Alexander said the standard was a massive step forward for blind and partially sighted people everywhere. 
 
She added; “The new standard is far reaching and applies to all organisations that provide NHS or adult social care, including GPs, hospitals, pharmacies and local authority social services.
 
"Blind and partially sighted people can now look forward to getting letters, test results and appointment reminders in an accessible format, by right and without a fight, enabling the same levels of independence and privacy expected by everyone else. We urge all NHS organisations and local authorities to implement the new standard without delay."
 

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