Sign our #Make Health Accessible petition
As Covid-19 restrictions ease and people return to using health and social care services normally, Sight Loss Councils are calling for consistent and proper application of the NHS Accessible Information Standard (AIS) to make health accessible for blind and partially sighted people.
The AIS was developed to improve the accessibility of health information. Under the standard, health and care services should ask patients and service uses about their information needs and then meet those needs in the right way. This might include providing information in large print, braille, audio or other formats such as email or text message.
Unfortunately, implementation of the AIS is at best patchy and at worst non-existent. This inconsistency can lead to missed appointments or tests, mistakes with medication and reduced ability of blind and partially sighted people to access their own medical records and healthcare information independently.
Thanks to the efforts of our campaigners and many others, NHS England has now committed to review the AIS, but we can’t stop here. We are calling for the review to adopt measures to enforce and sustain the AIS and ensure it delivers health care information that is accessible for blind and partially sighted people.
#Make Health Accessible now!
Five years on from the implementation of the NHS AIS and blind and partially sighted people are still being let down and missing out on vital health information. By signing our petition you can add your voice to our calls to demand better.
NHS England and the Department for Health and Social Care have already promised to review the NHS accessible information standard during 2022. As part of this review, we strongly urge them to deliver five key improvements:
- We want to see every NHS Trust, GP practice and health body required to have a local accessible information policy with clear monitoring measures.
- We want all NHS staff to receive core training in accessible information and how to communicate with patients and service users appropriately.
- We want all NHS bodies to be required to consult with blind and partially sighted service users on local implementation of accessible information and to seek regular feedback on the effectiveness of their systems.
- We want NHS England to monitor the implementation of the accessible information standard and produce an annual report on engagement with it.
- We want the Care Quality Commission to take on a specific responsibility for inspecting AIS compliance as part of their standard review programme.