In July 2015, the Accessible Information Standard (AIS) was approved to ensure people with a disability, impairment or sensory loss can access information and communicate effectively with health and care services.
Health and social care providers were given a year to implement the new standard and have been legally required to follow the AIS from 1 August 2016.
The standard is important because it aims to reduce the disparity between care provided to people without any disabilities and people with sensory and communication impairment.
NHS England is now reviewing the standard to assess the impact and to ensure that it is ‘fit for purpose’. Here we share our contribution to the review. It includes what local Healthwatch have been hearing over the last two years from people with sensory and communication impairment about their experiences. It also includes insight gathered by local Healthwatch as the AIS was being developed and implemented, as well as post implementation. More insight is being shared with Healthwatch all the time but we hope this snapshot proves useful to NHS England as it assesses what progress has been made.
Our response draws on the work of 41 local Healthwatch, incorporating the views of more than 700 people and includes evidence from visits to 50 healthcare providers.