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Health Services and Social Services: Disability

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 2857, tabled on 21 November 2023

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether her Department has made an assessment of the levels of compliance by health and social care providers with the Accessible Information Standard.

Answered on

1 December 2023

National Health Service organisations and publicly funded social care providers must comply with the Accessible Information Standard (AIS) to meet the communication needs of patients and carers with a disability, impairment, or sensory loss. NHS England has completed a review of the AIS to help ensure that everyone’s communication needs are met in health and care provision. The review considered the effectiveness of the current AIS, how the standard is implemented and enforced in practice, and identified recommendations for improvement.

One of the aims of the review was to strengthen assurance of implementation of the AIS, and a self-assessment framework has been developed to support providers of NHS and social care services to measure their performance against the AIS and develop improvement action plans to address gaps in implementation. The self-assessment framework has also been designed to help the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to gain insight into people's experiences and whether their accessible communication needs are being met, and help CQC better understand organisational performance and to include that in the CQC assessment framework for provider organisations.

Following publication of the revised standard, NHS England will continue work to support its implementation with awareness raising, communication and engagement and updated e-learning modules on the AIS to ensure NHS staff are better aware of the standard and their roles and responsibilities in implementing it.