Published date: 14 December 2022

AccessAble guides have reached 50,000 views in 2022

Since 2017, NHS Property Services been working with AccessAble to produce 380 accessibility guides for our properties so that colleagues, patients and visitors can feel prepared and confident about getting to and around our hospitals, health centres and GP practices.

What are AccessAble guides?

AccessAble is an organisation that undertakes in-person surveys to create online user guides on a range of accessibility criteria relating to a property

Each guide has hundreds of facts, figures and photographs that tell you all about how to get to the building. These include the car parking facilities and main entrance access as well as different features about getting around the building like walking distances to toilets, fixtures and fittings, signage, style of handrails, wall colour, hearing assistance and lighting. The guides are currently displayed on AccessAble’s website and linked on our property search page. 

How do the guides help people?​​​​​​​

Whether someone has a physical disability, anxiety about visiting a new place or just wants to know what to expect, using an AccessAble guide can reduce that stress and help them feel empowered. This is especially important for patients going to an appointment which is already a stressful time.

How many times have the guides been used?

Since the start of January 2022, our guides have been viewed 50,000 times by 35,000 people. Of these views, 95% of people have found the guides through an online search engine which shows the demand for this sort of information.

How are we increasing usage of the guides?​​​​

To maximise the use of our guides, we’ll soon be adding posters into each of the 380 buildings which will be linked, by QR code, directly to the AccessAble guide for that property. This will give people the accessibility information straight onto their phones which they can use as they move around the building and hopefully help those that didn’t know the guides existed or didn’t think to pre-plan.

What else are we doing to improve accessibility?

Our Corporate Social Responsibility and Culture and Inclusion teams are working together to improve the accessibility of our website, intranet and other online portals. We recently launched Recite Me, a digital toolbar that improves the accessibility of our website for visitors. 

We recently launched a new report from The Health Creation Alliance about how to create spaces for community and patient wellbeing, where accessibility emerged as one of the eight big themes from the research. The Health Creation Alliance spoke to ten different community groups, often those with the poorest health outcomes, to find out what it is about spaces that helps or hinders them to create health.

The insights the report provides are very valuable and we’ll be incorporating what we’ve learned into our decision making across many different programmes going forward to provide the best possible spaces to help tackle health inequalities and create healthier communities.

We are very proud of our partnership with AccessAble but we know we need to do more, and are committed to doing so, to create the conditions to best support colleagues, customers and patients’ wellbeing.

The AccessAble guides are available on the property search function of the NHS Property Services website or directly through AccessAble’s own website and App which is free to download on Apple and Android.