From 31st July 2016, all NHS and adult social care organisations in England must comply with a new set of rules called the Accessible Information Standard.
The Standard is a legal requirement that ensures:
- deaf people have the same level of access to information about their health as hearing people do;
- deaf people receive the communication support they want (for example a BSL-English interpreter or speech-to-text reporter); and
- information is provided in an accessible format. That may mean test results sent by SMS or emails in plain English.
To make sure your communication needs are met, health services should ask you:
- How you want to communicate when you see a health professional
- How you want to make contact with a health service
- How you want health services to give information to you
For example, you might say you would like to book an appointment online. You may want a speech-to-text reporter to be present when you see a doctor and you may want your test results emailed to you. You can print and use this form to tell staff how you would like to communicate.
With your permission, your choices should be recorded in your patient record. Your patient record should alert staff so that they know what your communication needs are. For example, if a nurse looks at your record on a computer, a message should flash up on the screen to let them know you need an interpreter.
The information should be shared with other health services. For instance, if your GP refers you to the hospital, they should tell the hospital that they need to book a BSL/English interpreter for you.
Having learned what communication choices you have made, health services then need to meet those needs. So, if you have said you want an interpreter when you see your GP, the GP practice should book one.
Click on the green buttons below to see more information in BSL and English.