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RNIB calls for progress on accessible health and care information

RNIB has written a joint letter to NHS England, calling for accessible health and care information to be prioritised without delay.

RNIB’s joint letter, signed by RNID, Macular Society, TPT and SignHealth makes clear we stand ready to support NHS England with putting accessible information into practice. However, we express our strong concerns that patients with communication needs continue to receive information they are unable to read or understand.

To make progress, it is vital that NHS England updates its Accessible Information Standard. This Standard was first introduced in 2016, and makes clear how NHS and social care services in England need to provide accessible information to patients and service users with communication needs.

The update to the NHS Standard is essential because it should help address the ongoing barriers to accessible health and care information. RNIB and other charities worked with NHS England to review the Standard and develop the update, but throughout 2023 the publication date has been continuously delayed.

That’s why we’re calling for NHS England to get the updated Standard in shape, over the finish line, and put into practice without further delay.

How you can help

In November 2023, Victoria Atkins was appointed as the new Health Secretary, and we want to get accessible health and care information at the top of her to-do list.

You can ask your MP to write to the Health Secretary and call for NHS England to publish its updated Standard without further delay.

Why accessible health and care information matters

It’s a legal right for blind and partially sighted people to receive NHS and social care information in their required alternative format, such as large print, email, audio or braille.

However, too often this doesn’t happen, leading to missed medical appointments, delayed test results, misunderstood treatment instructions, unread medication labels and letters from doctors. It means people with sight loss can face serious risks to health, wellbeing, independence and privacy.

Read our joint letter to NHS England

Find out more about the My Info My Way campaign.