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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, search AbilityNet for "how to" guides to make 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.

PDFs

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.

Other parts of the website that are not fully accessible

These include:

  • our pregnancy due date calculator tool, which is difficult to use with screen reader software
  • some online forms that are not easy for screen readers to navigate
  • some links and images that are not self-explanatory to screen reader users
  • our online survey tool, which is not announced by screen readers and difficult to use with other assistive technology
  • links to websites or software that we do not own or manage and so 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 on legislation.gov.uk (the "accessibility regulations").

Technical information about this website's accessibility

We're committed to making this website accessible, in accordance with the accessibility regulations.

Compliance status

This website is partially compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 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 and reference to the relevant WCAG section.

Non-compliance with the accessibility regulations

Forms

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)
  • The search placeholder text is low contrast (Contrast (minimum) 1.4.3)
In-page search
  • The placeholder text in the site search box form field is low contrast (Contrast (minimum) 1.4.3)
Interactive tool – pregnancy due date calculator
  • Error information is not announced automatically to screen readers (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)
  • The search placeholder text is low contrast (Contrast (minimum) 1.4.3)

3rd-party 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)

Content visibility

  • Low contrast focus indication style on: links, buttons, form fields, and search components (Non-text contrast 1.4.11)

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)
  • Anchor tags contain empty content (Meaningful sequence 1.3.2)
  • Presentation code (CSS) is embedded within structural code (HTML) (Info and relationships 1.3.1)

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 accessible components and patterns
  • carrying out regular accessibility audits and testing
  • designing and building to level AA of WCAG 2.1 – which is NHS Digital policy

As part of this commitment, we have set up a cross-functional accessibility working group to make sure that accessibility remains at the core of everything we do.

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

  • updating the 10 most-watched videos on the website to AA standard
  • all videos to be made AA standard when they are reviewed after 23 September 2020  
  • updating 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 updated in May 2022.

This website was tested in September 2020 by Nomensa, who performed an expert evaluation of over 40 pages against all level A and AA success criteria of WCAG 2.1. Content was selected to make sure a good representation of different pages, templates and components were tested as well as key content and user journeys. In August 2021, Nomensa retested the issues raised in the 2020 audit that we have now fixed.

This website's accessibility will be reviewed on a regular basis. The next review will take place in June and July 2022. We will update this accessibility statement with any relevant changes.

Page last reviewed: 25 May 2022
Next review due: 25 May 2025