The Accessible Information Standard (AIS) aims to make sure people with a disability or sensory impairment are given information they can understand, and the communication support they need. It came into force by law (section 250 of the Health and Social Care Act 2012) on 31 July 2016. The AIS applies to organisations that offer NHS care or publicly-funded adult social care. This includes doctors, dentists, hospitals, pharmacies, and social workers.
Organisations that provide NHS care or publicly-funded adult social care must:
- Ask people if they have any information or communication needs, and find out how to meet their needs.
- Record those needs clearly and in a set way.
- 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.
- 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.
- Take steps to ensure that people receive information which they can access and understand, and receive communication support if they need it.
Patients, service-users, carers, and parents (with a disability or sensory impairment) should:
- Be able to contact, and be contacted by, services in accessible ways (for example, via email or text message).
- Receive information and correspondence in formats they can read and understand (for example, in audio, braille, easy read, or large print).
- Be supported by a communication professional at appointments if needed (for example, a British Sign Language interpreter).
- Get support from health and care staff and organisations to communicate (for example, to lip-read or use a hearing aid).