Our Quality and Safety Standards

At Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, the quality and safety of your care are our highest priorities. There are national and local standards, policies and procedures to ensure you have the best possible outcomes and experience.

We adhere to the NHS Constitution for our standards and waiting times. We are inspected and regulated by national organisations who ensure we provide services to expected levels and meet our commitments within the National Health Service. We also take very seriously the feedback we get from patients and visitors and respond to concerns when they arise.

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Accessible Information Standard

The Accessible Information Standard (AIS)

The Accessible Information Standard (AIS) was introduced by the government in 2016 to make sure that people with a disability or sensory loss are given information in a way they can understand.

It applies to all organisations that provide NHS or adult social care (this includes: NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts, GP practices, as well as organisations that commission (pay for and make decisions about) NHS and adult social care services). 

The Standard states how we should ensure that patients/service users including, carers and parents with a disability, impairment or sensory loss disability receive:

  • information in formats that they can understand (e.g. easy read*, braille**)

  • appropriate support to help them to communicate  for example a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter, deafblind manual interpreter or an advocate.

What’s the aim?

The aim is to ensure that people with a disability, impairment or sensory loss are not put 'at a disadvantage, in comparison with persons who are not disabled'. To enable individuals to:

  • make decisions about their health and wellbeing, and about their care and treatment;

  • self-manage conditions;

  • access services appropriately and independently; and

  • make choices about treatments and procedures including the provision or withholding of consent

This should lead to improved outcomes and experiences, and safer, better services.

The Accessible Information Standard states five things we must do:

  1. Ask people if they have any information or communication needs, and find out how to meet their needs.

  2. Record those needs clearly and in a set way.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Take steps to ensure that people receive information which they can access and understand, and receive communication support if they need it.        

The scope of the Standard includes accommodation of an individual’s need or requirement for a longer appointment. In particular, any appointment requiring support from an interpreter will almost invariably take longer – because of the ‘three way’ nature of the conversation.

If you have a disability, impairment or sensory loss that means we need to communicate with you in a way that is helpful to you, please let us know. We will be asking patients, service users, carers and parents this question and will assess how best to communicate and what format works best for you.

Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust are complying with the standards, progress update can be accessed via the below link:

* Easy Read – pictures, diagrams, symbols and/or photographs are used to illustrate simple words and phrases. Examples of Easy Read Documents: rights about personal information and consent to share Information

**Braille - format used by people who are blind, deafblind or who have some visual loss. Readers use their fingers to ‘read’ or identify raised dots representing letters and numbers.