Accessible communication - what you can expect from services

Healthwatch across the country are launching a campaign to make sure you always get your care, your way. Here’s some key information about the accessible communications you should expect from services:
Two people using BSL to communicate online

What do health and care organisations have to do? 

  1. Ask if you have any communication needs, and asked how these needs can be met.
  2. Record your needs in a clear and set way and highlight these needs in your file or notes so people are aware and know how to meet them.
  3. Share information about your communication needs with other providers of NHS and adult social care, when they have consent or permission to do so.
  4. Deliver information to you in a way you can access and understand, with the option for communication support if needed.

What should you expect? 

So, if you’re speaking to a dentist, doctor, care home manager or any other provider of health and social care, here’s what you can expect:

  1. You should be able to contact, and be contacted by, services in accessible ways, for example via email or text message.
  2. Information and correspondence should be given in formats you can read and understand, for example in audio, braille, easy read or large print. 
  3. You should be supported by a communications professional at appointments if this is needed to support conversation, for example, a British Sign Language interpreter. 
  4. Health and care staff and organisations should support you to communicate, for example, to lip-read or use a hearing aid. 

What can you do if your communication needs are not met? 

We know that not all services are fully compliant with the Accessible Information Standard. 

If you do not receive information about our health and care in a format that suits you, you can: 

  1. Remind service staff that they have a legal duty to provide accessible information under the Accessible Information Standard. 
  2. Make a complaint to the nearest Patient Advice and Liaison Service which can help you to resolve issues informally. 
  3. Share your experience with us at Healthwatch Greenwich. We will feed back to local services and decision-makers, as well as feed into Healthwatch England’s national advocacy work. 
  4. Get involved with your local Patient Participation Group or patient reference group – groups of patient volunteers which work to represent the voices of patients and improve services. 
The Accessible Information Standard - what you can expect from services

Find out more about the Accessible Information Standard.

Find out more

Share your thoughts

You can help make health and care services better by sharing your experiences and ideas.

Talk to us