NHS England have published a progress and next steps update on their development of an accessible information standard.
Following their consultation on the draft accessible information standard in autumn last year they are reviewing all of the responses and are planning to publish a report in February / March 2015.
Their update reports that the next steps are to create a guidebook for health and social care organisations across England. The guidebook will be an ‘Information Standard’ which is a set of rules which organisations must follow.
The guidebook will tell organisations how they should make sure that people with a disability or sensory loss get information in the right format for them, and any support they need to communicate. This includes providing alternative formats such as braille or easy read, and using different ways to communicate with people, such email. It also includes arranging support from a communication professional such as a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter or deafblind manual interpreter.
The standard will tell organisations how they should find out about, record and act upon people’s information and communication support needs.
Their plan is that the standard will cover all providers and commissioners of NHS and adult social care, including GPs, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and hospitals.
The standard is following a formal process to be approved as a new information standard. The Standardisation Committee for Care Information (SCCI) has responsibility for approving information standards for the health and care system. You can find out more about SCCI on the NHS England website. NHS England are planning to send the final standard to the SCCI for them to consider in May or June 2015.
You can read PiF’s response to the draft standard, submitted to the consultation in November 2014, here.