20 June 2019

Why the Accessible Information Standard is so important

Christopher Porter is a self-advocate and member of the Craven self-advocacy consulting group. He has written about the importance of the Accessible Information Standard.


In 2016 the National Health Service England published a new law called The Accessible Information Standard. The aim of the Standard is to make sure that health and social care service communicate with you in a way people understand. This means by law health and social care services have to ask you what support you need to communicate. People with a learning disability or autism have the right to ask for information in a way that is best for them to understand, for example, in easy read, large print or audio.    

I am a member of the North Yorkshire Learning Disability Partnership Board and we think it is really important to tell people with a learning disability and autism that they have a right to ask for their information such as letters, appointments or other information in a way we understand. We have worked with the North Yorkshire Learning Disability Partnership Board to promote the Accessible Information Standard. 

Self-advocates wrote a letter to explain the importance of having information in a way that is understandable to people who have a learning disability or autism.  North Yorkshire County Council then sent out over 900 of these letters to Health and Social Care providers and partners.

It’s important that letters about your health care are written in a way people understand, for example, appointment letters and health information. If people with a learning disability and autism don’t understand this, then GP and hospital appointments will be missed because the letters have not been read or understood. Then this could mean some people miss appointments they really need to attend.  It could also be a reason people with a learning disability and autistic people die earlier than other people because information is not written in a way people can understand.     

For more information about the Accessible Information Standard; https://www.mencap.org.uk/advice-and-support/health/accessible-information-standard

To view videos on the North Yorkshire website;



By Christopher Porter


For more information about self-advocacy in North Yorkshire you can follow the group on twitter and instagram. You can also contact Karen Murray at karen.murray@keyring.org or on 07833 309 693.