Everyone should be able to make informed decisions about their health and care. 

All communications, information and digital tools should be accessible with the option to personalise.

Under the Equality Act 2010 it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of disability[1]. 

You should consider the equalities impact of every new resource. Public sector bodies should meet the Accessible Information Standard[2].


Making information easy to understand

5 million adults cannot find relevant data in standard health information[3]. To help overcome this you can:

  • Use clear subheadings
  • Aim for a reading age of 9-11
  • Use plain language
  • Keep sentences short
  • Involve users
  • Choose the most appropriate format for the information


Top tip:

Provide transcripts and captions on videos. Make downloadable documents accessible.


Alternative formats

Wherever possible, information should be provided in alternative formats. These may include:

  • Audio recordings
  • British Sign
  • Language (BSL)
  • Large print
  • Braille
  • Easy read


Top tip:

Microsoft Word has an accessibility checker which flags issues like unclear hyperlinks or poor colour contrast.


SCULPT accessible content online


SStructure – Use heading styles in your document such as H1, H2, H3
CColour contrast – Use strong colour contrasts
UUse of images – Provide alt text
LLinks – Describe your link
PPlain language – Use plain language
TTable structure – Use simple tables without merged or split cells

Information on how to make sure you are meeting WCAG requirements for accessible websites is available in our Web Accessibility Quick Guide[4].



1. legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/contents

2. england.nhs.uk/about/equality/equality-hub/patient-equalities-programme/equality-frameworks-and-information-standards/accessibleinfo

3. Rowlands G, Protheroe J et al, 2015. BJGP, 65(635): e379-e386. bjgp.org/content/65/635/e379

4. pifonline.org.uk/resources/how-to-guides/web-accessibility-a-quick-guide


Published by the Patient Information Forum Ltd. May 2024. Review date: May 2026.



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