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Accessibility statement

This accessibility statement applies to the NHS website for England (www.nhs.uk).

We want as many people as possible to be able to use this website. This means you should be able to:

  • Change colours, contrast levels and fonts using browser functionality
  • Zoom in up to 400 per cent without the text spilling off the screen
  • Navigate most of the website using just a keyboard
  • Navigate most of the website using speech recognition software
  • Interact with most of the website using a screen reader (including recent versions of JAWS, NVDA and VoiceOver)

We also try to make the website text as simple as possible to understand.

If you have a disability, AbilityNet has advice on making your device easier to use.

How accessible this website is

We know from several accessibility reports that parts of this website are not fully accessible. Many of our PDFs are not fully accessible to screen reader software. Some of these PDFs are required to access a service. Examples include:

If you're having problems using these PDFs, contact your GP surgery for advice.

  • Some of our interactive tools, such as self-assessments, are difficult to use with a keyboard or screen reader software. These include:
  • Mood self-assessment
  • Type 2 diabetes risk checker
  • Blood pressure test
  • Pregnancy due date calculator
  • Some online forms are not easy for screen readers to navigate
  • Some of our links and images are not self-explanatory to screen reader users
  • Our online survey tool is not announced by screen readers and difficult to use with other assistive technology
  • We link to websites or software we do not own or manage and cannot guarantee their accessibility

We are actively working to address these issues as part of an ongoing programme to improve the accessibility of this website.

Feedback and contact information

We are always looking to improve the accessibility of this website. Contact us if you have an accessibility query including:

  • Issues with accessing information or using this website
  • An accessibility problem not listed on this statement
  • Any positive feedback about this website’s accessibility

Enforcement procedure

If you contact us with a complaint and you are not happy with our response contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS).

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is responsible for enforcing the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 (the "accessibility regulations").

Technical information about this website's accessibility

We're committed to making this website accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.

Compliance status

This website is partially compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA standard, due to the non-compliances listed below.

Non-accessible content

The content that is not accessible is listed below together with an explanation.

Non-compliance with the accessibility regulations

Forms

  • Autocomplete attributes have not been provided for some form fields meaning users will have to fill them out manually without any in-page aids (Identify Input Purpose 1.3.5)
Contact us
  • Help and error information is not announced automatically to screen readers (Info and Relationships 1.3.1)
  • The page is missing a language attribute (Language of Page 3.1.1)
Service Search (newer templates)
  • Help and error information is not announced automatically to screen readers (Info and Relationships 1.3.1)
  • Form labels are missing or broken (Info and Relationships 1.3.1)
  • Some messages are not automatically announced to users of assistive technology (Error Identification 3.3.1)
In-page search
  • A focus indicator was missing (Focus Visible 2.4.7)
  • A form label was missing or broken (Info and Relationships 1.3.1)

Podcasts

  • A text alternative (transcript) for audio-only content has not been provided for podcast content (Audio Only 1.2.1)

PDFs

  • The structure of the content is not always available to assistive technology, which makes the content difficult to understand and navigate for users of screen readers (Info and Relationships 1.3.1)
  • The reading order of the content is not always logical, which means some content does not make sense when read out by text-to-speech software (Meaningful Sequence 1.3.2)
  • Images do not always have text alternatives, which means some content is not available when using text-to-speech software (Text Alternatives 1.1.1)

Older pages (legacy)

  • Autocomplete suggestions for the Location search box in the "Find Services" area of the website are not announced by screen readers (Status Change 4.1.3)
  • Issues in the build of older or more complex tables affect the relationship between headings and cells of data making the table inaccessible to users of assistive technology (Info and Relationships 1.3.1)
  • Some images within tables are missing alternative text descriptions meaning they are not announced by screen readers (Non-text Content 1.1.1)

3rd-party content

Self-assessment and interactive tools
  • Overlay content (such as modal windows) allow focus to move outside and/or behind the window (Focus Order 2.4.3)
  • Groups of radio buttons and checkboxes are not announced correctly by screen readers (Info and Relationships 1.3.1)
  • Components such as progress bars, buttons and radio buttons have not been built in an accessible way and so may not be announced and might be difficult to interact with (Name, Role, Value 4.1.2)
  • Some errors have not been explained in text (Error Identification 3.3.1)
  • Text acting as a heading has not been built using the correct HTML tag (Info and Relationships 1.3.1)
  • Tools contain low contrast text (Contrast Minimum 1.4.3) and low contrast graph images (Non-Text Contrast 1.4.11)
  • Colour alone has been used to convey information on buttons within interactive tools (Use of Colour 1.4.1)
Video player
  • Low contrast text on the controls for the player (Contrast Minimum 1.4.3)
  • Player control text overlaps at certain zoom percentages (Reflow 1.4.10)
  • Player tooltips cannot be dismissed without moving mouse (pointer) or keyboard focus (Content on Hover or Focus 1.4.13)
Survey component
  • Survey invite is not announced to users of assistive technology (Status Change (4.1.3)
  • Focus is not managed between steps of survey (Focus Order 2.4.3)

Keyboard navigation

  • Focus indicator is missing on NHS App page carousel component (Focus Visible 2.4.7)

Content visibility

  • Low contrast focus indication style on: links, buttons, form fields, search components and other interactive items (Non-Text Contrast 1.4.11)
  • Status tool tip text for mobile apps can only be triggered by hovering the mouse (Content on Hover or Focus 1.4.13)

Screen readers

  • Inaccessible HTML such as empty ARIA (accessible rich internet applications) Landmarks, incorrect or broken instances of the ARIA attributes and empty lists or lists with 1 item (Info and Relationships 1.3.1)
  • Form labels are missing or broken (Info and Relationships 1.3.1)
  • Decorative images are not hidden from screen readers (Non-text Content 1.1.1)
  • Colour alone is used to convey information on text blocks that warn or provide important information for users (Use of Colour (1.4.1)

Content that's not within the scope of the accessibility regulations

PDFs and other documents

Many of our older PDFs do not meet accessibility standards. The accessibility regulations do not require us to fix PDFs or other documents published before 23 September 2018 if they're not essential to providing our services. We do have plans to remove or replace some of the PDFs with more accessible content alternatives. Wherever possible, we avoid PDFs. Instead we create content as structured web pages in HTML.

Videos

Some of our older videos do not meet accessibility standards because they do not have captions. The accessibility regulations do not require us to fix videos published before 23 September 2020. We are actively working to add captions to the most popular older videos.

What we're doing to improve accessibility

We have published tools and guidance on accessibility in the NHS Digital service manual based on extensive testing. The service manual helps our teams build products and services to meet the same accessibility standards.

At NHS Digital, creating an accessible service is a team effort. We want our teams to make accessible services by:

  • Considering accessibility at the start of their project, and throughout
  • Making accessibility the whole team's responsibility
  • Researching with disabled users
  • Using a library of NHS Digital accessible components and patterns
  • Carrying out regular accessibility audits and testing
  • Designing and building to level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1) – which is NHS Digital and NHSx policy.

As part of this commitment, we have set up a cross-functional accessibility working group to ensure that accessibility remains at the core of everything we do. We have a new accessibility lab in our Leeds office, where staff can get hands-on experience of assistive technologies and simulators.

We are making sure that accessibility issues highlighted in this statement are being prioritised and fixed. Measures include:

  • A new accessible video player featuring BSL functionality, including audio descriptions and transcripts
  • People using assistive technology can now hear the subject of the video without having to play the video itself
  • All new videos uploaded after 23 September 2020 will be at least AA compliant
  • Update the 10 most-watched videos on the website to AA standard
  • Work with third parties to update key health videos to AAA standard 
  • All videos to be made AA standard when they are reviewed after 23 September 2020 
  • Plans to make key public announcement videos AAA compliant where possible 
  • Update all audio-only content on the NHS website to be AA standard
  • A principle to move away from new content being produced in PDF
  • Plans to remove or replace older PDFs with more accessible content
  • Ongoing improvements to the NHS Design System with a focus on accessibility
  • Prioritising accessibility remedial work in all new development and improvement projects
  • Working with suppliers to improve the accessibility of their products

Preparation of this accessibility statement

This statement was prepared on 21 September 2020.

This website was last tested on 10 September 2020 by Nomensa, who performed an expert evaluation of over 40 pages against all level A and AA success criteria of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1. Content was selected to ensure a good representation of different pages, templates and components were tested as well as key content and user journeys.

This website's accessibility will be reviewed on a regular basis. We will update this accessibility statement with any relevant changes.

Page last reviewed: 21 September 2020
Next review due: 21 September 2023