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Clearing up some myths about accessible information

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Since August 2016, all providers of  NHS care and/or publicly-funded adult social care have been legally obliged to follow the Accessible Information Standard.

A woman with thought bubbles coming from her head, depicting three ways to provide accessible information: large print, clear pictures and braille.
Image courtesy of easy on the i

That includes all providers of NHS screening programmes. So this seems a good time to refresh memories, provide an update and help clear up any myth-understandings!

13 myths debunked

It’s important we understand how the Standard works so we can make screening equitable on both a national and local level.

NHS England has put together the slides below to explain the Standard and dispel some of the most common myths.

As you go through the presentation, each myth is followed by the relevant fact on the next slide. For example, one myth reads ‘The Standard means that I have to keep ‘stocks’ of information in a range of alternative formats’. You can test your knowledge of the facts by going through the slides.

Update on easy read screening leaflets

Dr Howard Leicester, who was awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours List for improving patient services and accessibility in the NHS, described the Standard as “making things easier for as many people as possible”.

Nationally, we’ve been working on making things easier for people with learning disabilities (and anyone who struggles with written English) by reviewing and revising easy read information about antenatal and newborn screening. During this work we have:

  • involved learning disability experts and people with learning disabilities
  • used a new clear and simple layout
  • divided the information into short sections for each antenatal and newborn screening test
  • made the information accessible by writing in clear and concise sentences
  • used new photos and artwork to illustrate each important message

We will be sharing these publications with local screening providers soon. Watch this space.

A refresh on the 5 steps

In a previous blog we outlined the 5 things we must do to make sure our information is accessible. For screening, this responsibility is shared between the national programmes and local providers.

Just to remind you, these are the 5 steps.

  1. Ask people if they have any information or communication needs, and find out how to meet their needs.
  2. Record those needs clearly and in a set way.
  3. 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.
  4. Share information about people’s information and communication needs with other providers of NHS and adult social care, when they have consent or permission to do so.
  5. Take steps to ensure that people receive information which they can access and understand, and receive communication support if they need it.

It’s important to remember that the Standard exists to help to improve health outcomes and reduce inequalities.

More information is available from the NHS England website in various formats, along with a range of resources to support effective implementation of the Standard, including links to e-learning modules.

PHE Screening blogs

PHE Screening BLOGs provide up to date news from all NHS screening programmes – replacing our previously published newsletters.

You can register to receive updates direct to your inbox, so there’s no need to keep checking for new blogs.

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