Introduction

The provision of good quality, appropriate and timely information is an integral part of patient care. Information produced by the Trust will be quality controlled, standardised, consistent and accessible to all.

Information is an important part of the patient journey. It is central to the overall quality of each patient’s experience of the NHS. Either on request or generally, depending on demand, the Trust will make information available in formats appropriate to meet the communication needs of those with language, sight, hearing, special needs difficulties and other impairments. In this way all patients will have appropriate written information including that to support their consent process.

 

The NHS puts patients at the centre of service design and delivery. By providing good quality information, we can help to ensure that patients have greater power, protection and choice in key aspects of their healthcare. This policy is intended to adhere to NHS Brand guidelines (last updated in 2010) that state that by providing good patient information, we can:

  • help to make sure that patients are properly prepared for procedures or operations;
  • remind patients what their doctor or nurse has told them if, due to stress or language difficulties, they are unable to remember;
  • enable people to make information decisions, giving them time to go away, read the information that is relevant to them, and think about the issues involved;
  • involve patients in their condition and their treatment; and
  • give patients confidence, improving their overall experience of the NHS.

 

NHS England is developing an Information Standard for accessible information. The Standard is a framework of requirements and recommendations which health and social care organisations must follow, like a formal guidance document.

This guidance will tell organisations how they should ensure that service users and, where appropriate, carers, receive information in formats that they can understand and that they receive appropriate support to help them communicate, which may include advocacy.

Following consultation on the Information Standard, a consultation report will be published in early 2015.

Once the Information Standard is approved, the Trust will have 12 months within which they need to achieve full compliance with the Standard.

 

What is Patient Information?

For the purposes of this policy, ‘Patient information’ is defined as written information about a clinical condition, its treatment, effects and side effects and the help and support available to optimise a good health outcome. However, the principles of this policy also apply to alternative methods of communication that may be required for those with special communication needs. It may also apply to other written patient information such as posters or displays. This policy does not relate to written information about patients such as medical records or personal information.

Written information should complement face-to-face communication between the patient and health professionals. Patients must be given appropriate information which states the risks, benefits and alternatives to treatments and procedures, to support decision making in the consent process. See Consent Policy.

Clinical staff should be aware of the range of booklets and leaflets available to patients in their own speciality. They should aim to have these available when patients attend outpatient/pre-assessment clinics. The Patient Advice & Liaison Service (PALS) can advise where to obtain appropriate information, such as who to contact within the Trust e.g. specialist nurses, midwives, ward managers, medical secretaries, etc. PALS also holds additional information such as a range of suitable external links to local self-help groups, national bodies and internet websites.

 

Policy Details

Download: PDF version
Compiled by: Communications Team
Ratified by: n/a
Date Ratified: November 2014
Date Issued: December 2014
Review Date: November 2016
Target Audience: All staff
Contact name: Head of Organisational Development

 

See also:

  • The Consent Policy
  • Guidelines for Using Interpreting Services for Non-English Speaking Patients and those with Communication Impairments