Accessible Information Standard

The Accessible Information Standard’s aim is to make sure that people who have a disability, impairment or sensory loss are known and recognised when they access services. It ensures they are offered information in a way they can use and understand, and any communication support they need is identified as early as possible so that their requirements can be met in a way that meets their needs.

The Standard explains that we must make sure that we recognise the diverse needs of patients and others, what the range of requirements may be from our local service users, carers and parents and that they can access and understand the information that they are given. This includes making sure that people get information in the different formats that they need such as braille, large print, easy read or via email.

The Standard does not cover translating information in to different languages for those who do not speak or read English. However, this can be available upon request; please contact the service or department you are attending.

For more information about the Accessible Information Standard, please contact our Patient and Public Engagement and Inclusion Lead by emailing or by calling 01709 426428.

Why must organisations follow the Standard?

Organisations must follow the AIS standard by law. This is explained in Section 250 of the Health and Social Care Act 2012.

How do we meet the Standard?

As part of the accessible information standard we must do these five things:

  • Ask people if they have any information or communication needs, find out what they are and how to meet their needs. 
  • Record those needs clearly in the patient's records, whether in an electronic record or paper notes. This information must be recorded in a set way on the right part of the record. 
  • Highlight or flag the patient’s file or case notes so it is clear that they have an information or communication need to make sure this can be seen whenever the record is checked and to see how to meet their specific needs.
  • Share information about people’s information and communication needs with other providers of NHS and adult social care, when we have consent or permission to do so.
  • Act by taking steps to ensure that people receive information they can use and easily understand, and that they receive communication support when they need it.

What to do if you have a communication need

If you (or someone you care for) needs support in accessing any of our information, or needs support when attending the hospital, please contact the relevant service or department directly.

It can help to prepare for an appointment or admission to hospital. We would like to know a little more about you when you arrive: the first things are your name, date of birth and address. Having these written down before coming to your appointment using the communication card or your own document can help to avoid repeating the information for the staff. 

How can we best communicate with you?

Do you need to communicate using British sign language (BSL), or use a deaf/blind interpreter?

Do you communicate using an aid, for example a hearing aid or a talking mat?

Do we need to have information available for you in an accessible way? For example, in large print, easy read or in braille.

Is it best to contact you by email, text phone, text message or through supportive apps, such as Relay UK?

Communication card

You can download a communication card which you can complete and bring with you to the hospital or clinic appointment.

Before you come to an appointment, it would be helpful to consider what you want to tell us when you arrive so that we can communicate well with you from our very first contact.

If you don't have a printer, you can request one to be posted to you by emailing with AIS communication card in the subject box and your postal address in the email. Alternatively you can call 01709 426428.

Useful accessible information resources

This website provides access to a range of patient information. Patient information on this website can be opened using Browse Aloud to provide accessibility support.

For more information on the accessible information standard (AIS) please visit one of the following according to your needs:

NHS England has information, video clips and guidance for NHS service users. 

CHANGE has information for patients who may want easy read or other guidance resources to assist them.

Further information on particular needs is also available from these national organisations:

Sense is for everyone living with complex disabilities. It is for everyone who is deafblind. Sense aims to help people communicate and experience the world. They state that no one, no matter how complex their disabilities, should be isolated, left out, or unable to fulfil their potential.

NHS England has worked with Sense to develop an animated video which provides a step-by-step overview of the Standard. The video includes subtitles and BSL interpretation 

Action on Hearing Loss is the UK’s leading charity supporting people with hearing loss, deafness and tinnitus. 

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) is one of the UK’s leading sight loss charities and the largest community of blind and partially sighted people.

The RNIB Team can give you advice and point you to the services that can help you face the future with confidence.

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