Accessible information

Making health and social care information accessible

Image of an open book Image of two hands signingImage of fingers reading a braille document

NHS England is developing an Information Standard for accessible information. There is more information about the standard in the sections below. The consultation on the draft standard closed on 9 November and we are currently reviewing all of the responses. A consultation report will be published here in later 2014/early 2015. Piloting of the draft standard is expected to begin in November 2014.


An Information Standard is a framework of requirements and recommendations which health and social care organisations must follow, like a formal guidance document.

This guidance will tell organisations how they should ensure that disabled patients / service users and, where appropriate, carers, receive information in formats that they can understand, and that they receive appropriate support to help them to communicate, which may include advocacy.

A short introduction to the project is available here (please note that some of the dates have changed since this update was first published in June 2014):

Image of someone reading a book(Click on the image to the left to download an easy read version)

If you would like a copy of this introduction in an alternative format, for example braille, please contact us by email to or telephone 0113 8251324.

We want to ensure that this work is informed by the views of people who will be affected by it. A consultation on the draft standard took place from 13 August until 9 November 2014 and is now closed. We are currently reviewing all of the responses and will publish a report in later 2014/early 2015. From November 2013 until 21 February 2014, we also ran an engagement exercise to seek views.

An Advisory Group has been established to oversee this work. More information about this Group, including approved Minutes of meetings.

For more information about Information Standards please visit Information Standards Board website.

Getting involved

Image showing two people invovled in a conversationWe want to know what lots of different people think about our plans for making health and social care information accessible. This includes patients, carers and service users who are d/Deaf or have some hearing loss, blind or have some visual loss, are deafblind, or have a learning disability. It also includes health and social care professionals and organisations, patient groups and communication professionals.


From 13 August until 9 November 2014 there was a consultation on the draft accessible information standard. The consultation is now closed.

We used the experiences and opinions people shared as part of the engagement phase to write the draft standard.

As part of the consultation, we asked people what they thought about the draft accessible information standard. We are currently looking at all of the responses we received as part of the consultation. We will publish a consultation report here in later 2014 / early 2015. We will use what people told us as part of the consultation to write the final accessible information standard.

Although the consultation has closed and you can no longer submit your views, you can still read the consultation document which gives an overview about the draft standard:

We are have also published all of the draft documents which currently make up the standard, which have been written for consideration by the Standardisation Committee for Care Information. Please note that all of these documents are draft and will change when we write the final accessible information standard. Health and care professionals and suppliers of IT systems may want to read the documents as they include the specific requirements of the standard (in draft form):

Accessible Information Standard Draft Stage Documents

During the consultation period, we worked with some voluntary organisations to host some workshops so that patients, service users and carers with information and/or communication needs could have their say.

Sense hosted an event for deafblind people to have their say on 28 August. The Royal National Institute of Blind people (RNIB) hosted events on 15, 19 and 23 September in Newcastle, London and Birmingham, and on 30 October in South Tyneside. SignHealth hosted events with the d/Deaf community on 22 September in Bristol. The notes from all of these events will be available soon.

CHANGE also held events for people with learning disabilities in October 2014 in Coventry, Leeds, London, Manchester and Darlington. The report from these events, and an easy read report, will be available here soon.

If you have a query about the accessible information standard or would like to get updates sent to you, please contact us by using this online form, or email or telephone 0113 8251324


From November 2013 to 21 February 2014 we asked people for their views via three online surveys, so we could find out what different people think. We also worked in partnership with key national charities to support different groups of people to have their say. The report of engagement activity is available in a range of formats:

If you would like a copy of this report in an alternative format such as braille, or a copy posting to you in another format, please contact us by email at or use the contact form or telephone 0113 8251324.

A much longer, analytical report, which also includes ‘free text’ responses, is also available: Report on selected questions from the NHS England Accessible Information Surveys: May 2014, also available as PDF document.

As part of the engagement activity, workshop discussion events were hosted by:

The notes from these workshops are available below:

Sense have produced a short video about the workshop they hosted, this is available on their website.

CHANGE have produced a report of the five focus groups they held, and an easy read summary. They have also produced a short video about the involvement of people with learning disabilities in this work. This is available their website.

In addition, two workshops took place with d/Deaf service users in Wandsworth and the notes from these discussions are now available:

Further information / supporting publications

Standard setting for accessible information advisory group

An Advisory Group has been established to oversee the development, approval and implementation of the Information Standard. This Group includes senior representatives from NHS England, the Health and Social Care Information Centre, Department of Health Directorate of Social Care, independent patient representatives and voluntary organisations working with affected groups (RNIB, Action on Hearing Loss and CHANGE).

Copies of meeting Minutes will be available here as they are ratified.