National health literacy toolkit

LTP Priority: Personalised Care

Population Intervention Triangle: Segments (link to Section 1 PHE PBA): Service

Type of Interventions: National health literacy toolkit – Local action on health inequalities: improving health literacy

Major driver of health inequalities in your area of work

Health literacy describes the personal characteristics and social resources needed for individuals and communities to access, understand, appraise and use information and services to make decisions about health.

The national Health Literacy Toolkit was developed in partnership by NHS England, Public Health England, Health Education England and the Community Health and Learning Foundation in response to research which showed that, in England, 43% of adults aged 16-65 struggle to understand textual health information materials.

If numbers are included with the text, then 61% of adults aged 18-65 find it hard to understand the information.  It includes the capacity to communicate, assert and enact health decisions.

The toolkit introduces tools and resources to support the health and care system to ensure practitioners and organisations can adapt their practices to enable health literate conversations take place and to ensure that the production of information takes account of people’s level of health literacy.

The available evidence suggests that strategies to improve health literacy are important empowerment tools with potential to reduce health inequalities. This is because the most disadvantaged groups in society, at risk of limited health literacy, are known to have the poorest health outcomes. Please see the link below for further information about this. However, it is also acknowledged, that more largescale, robust research is needed to better understand how to improve the health literacy of disadvantaged or vulnerable people.

For more information on the Toolkit and other key resources. see the website.