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What all NHS services need to do about accessibility

The NHS is for everyone, so NHS digital services should be accessible to everyone too.

Accessibility and the law

If your service isn’t accessible to everyone who needs it, you may be breaking the 2010 Equality Act.

New accessibility regulations say that public sector websites must meet accessibility standards and publish an accessibility statement. You can find out more about the new regulations on GOV.UK.

Meeting the requirements

NHS digital services must:

  • meet at least level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1) - and aim for AAA where possible
  • work on the most commonly used assistive technologies - including screen magnifiers
  • include people with access needs in user research

Internal services

NHS staff and civil servants are users too and the NHS is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion. Internal services need to meet the same accessibility requirements.

Suppliers and contractors

External suppliers contracted to the NHS must also make sure their work meets the same standard.

The NHS may test the product or ask suppliers to arrange an independent accessibility test.

Why it's important

In the UK, almost 1 in 5 people have a disability of some kind. Many more have temporary or situational disabilities, like an illness or injury.

When you’re working on NHS services, think about how people with different needs might use what you’re making.

For example, can someone with dyslexia read your content easily? Or how would someone with a broken arm interact on a mobile device?

Updated: July 2019