Practices will be aware of the Accessible Information Standards (AIS) and many will have been asked about how they comply with this during CQC inspections within R1.4 of person-centred care (healthcare services).
What many Practices may not be aware of is that the accessibility regulations, which came into force on 23 September 2018, say that you must make your website and any apps accessible. You will need to include and update an accessibility statement on your website and this needs to happen by 23 September 2020.
Many Practices use external providers, however, it remains your legal responsibility to check that your website meets accessibility standards.
The requirements state that the website must:
- Meet the international WCAG 2.1 AA accessibility standard – although, there may be valid legal reasons for not meeting accessibility standards
- Publish an accessibility statement that explains how accessible your website or mobile app is
There are four WCAG principles of website accessibility that are fairly straight forward:
- Perceivable: This means that users must be able to perceive the information being presented (it shouldn’t be invisible to all of their senses)
- Operable: This means that users must be able to operate the interface (the interface shouldn’t require interaction that a user can’t perform)
- Understandable: Users must be able to understand the information as well as the operation of the user interface (the content or operation shouldn’t be beyond their understanding)
- Robust: Users must be able to access the content as technologies advance (as technologies and user agents evolve, the content should remain accessible)
Make a Plan
- Talk to your website provider
- Ask when the accessibility statement will be published and how this will be kept under regular review
- Make sure this includes details of who a Patient can contact if they experience access problems
- Share this information in team meetings so that everyone understands the AIS requirements