What is the Accessible Information Standard?
The Accessible Information Standard – known officially as SCCI1605 Accessible Information – is a new ‘information standard’ for implementation by all organisations that provide NHS or adult social care.
Compliance with information standards of this type is a mandatory requirement, including for NHS Trusts and GP practices. This is set out in section 250 of the Health and Social Care Act.
The Accessible Information Standard aims to ensure that people who have a disability or sensory loss receive information that they can access and understand, for example in large print, braille or via email, and professional communication support if they need it, for example from a British Sign Language interpreter.
The Standard requires organisations that provide NHS or adult social care to:
- 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 to meet those needs.
- Share 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.
Full compliance with the Standard is required by 31 July 2016, although there are also some milestones in advance of this.
Which organisations does the Standard apply to?
All organisations that provide NHS or adult social care must follow the Standard. This includes NHS Trusts and NHS Foundation Trusts, independent contractors and providers from the private and voluntary sectors.
Which patients are affected by the Standard?
The Standard applies to patients and service users who have information and / or communication needs relating to a disability, impairment or sensory loss. It also applies to parents and carers of patients / service users who have such information and / or communication needs, where appropriate. Individuals most likely to be affected by the Standard include people who are blind or d/Deaf, who have some hearing and / or visual loss, people who are deafblind and people with a learning disability. However, this list is not exhaustive.
5. What impact will implementing the Standard have?
Successful implementation of the Standard aims to lead to improved outcomes and experiences, and the provision of safer and more personalised care and services to those individuals who come within the Standard’s scope. It should lead to improvements in patient satisfaction and experience, patient safety, outcomes (for example to due to earlier diagnosis and treatment) and patients’ ability to self-care and adhere to clinical and medical advice.
The Standard is expected to benefit both patients and organisations, for example by reducing ‘did not attend’ (DNA) rates. For instance, the 2013 Action on Hearing Loss report, Access all Areas? included the statistic that 14% of people with hearing loss had missed an appointment due to not hearing their name being called in the waiting room. There are an estimated 10 million people with hearing loss across the UK, if 14% of them have missed an appointment due to not hearing their name being called, that is 1.4 million missed appointments.
The Standard should lead to some specific and significant benefits, including as follows:
- Improved health and wellbeing amongst patients in the key affected groups due to increased take-up of early intervention and prevention opportunities as part of national programmes (for example NHS Health Checks and ‘flu vaccination), ability to participate in decision-making and improved compliance with treatment / medical advice.
- Improved patient safety due to ability to understand and follow information regarding care and treatment, including medicines management and pre- and post-operative advice.
- More appropriate use of services by patients in affected groups including increased use of primary / routine care and services and reduction in urgent and emergency care usage.
- Improvement in the effectiveness of clinical care due to addressing barriers to communication.
- Improvement in patient experience and satisfaction, and reduction in complaints and litigation associated with failure to provide accessible information and communication support.
At Donneybrook Medical Centre, we will ask newly registered patients about their specific needs on our registration form
For existing patients, our staff will routinely ask when you visit. Please help us to communicate effectively with you by making us aware of your specific needs.