Skip to main content

Supporting Guidance Standard 3.2

Health Services in Wales

Supporting Guidance

Standard 3.2: Communicating Effectively


What is the Standard about?

The standard is about how effectively organisations/ services and staff communicate with patients, service users and carers, the workforce and in partnership with others, taking account of their individual language and communication needs.

The standard is about providing services in Welsh as for many Welsh speakers language is an integral element of their care.  It is also about treating Welsh speakers with dignity and respect and ensuring that they receive accurate assessments and appropriate care.


Who is it for?

All health services in all healthcare settings

In relation to the standard criteria (in bold) the following key questions need to be considered:

Welsh speakers are offered language services that meet their needs as a natural part of their care.

  • Do you have plans in place so that compliance with the More than Just Words strategic framework and the Welsh Language Measure is mainstreamed across the organisation?
  • Do Welsh speakers or learners wear a ‘Iaith Gwaith’ or ‘Dysgu Cymraeg’ badge to show that they can speak Welsh?
  • Do you know who the Welsh speakers are in your care team so that they can be matched with Welsh speaking patients / service users?
  • Do you ensure that wards or departments have a bilingual environment and is welcoming for Welsh speakers?  For example are there Welsh language reading material / Welsh language radio and television services available?
  • Do you have a Welsh Language Officer? Do they provide effective help and advice?  Every LHB / Trust must have one.

Open and honest communication is emphasised in the spirit of co-production.

  • How do you ensure that communication goes beyond just giving information or signposting patients to sources of information but re-establishes them with or links them to social networks that will facilitate their ability to assimilate and act on information provided?
  • Are patient consultations based on an equal and reciprocal relationship that allows the patient to make informed choices around ‘what matters to them’ providing an holistic assessment of strengths as well as need?
  • Are all written communications produced in a format that is accessible to the reader (e.g. large print, audio and Braille versions of frequently used leaflets and documents)?
  • How do professionals learn and develop existing practice to take into account information received from patients their families and carers?

Special care is taken in communicating with those whose mental capacity may be temporarily or permanently impaired.

  • How do you ensure staff understand the Mental Capacity Act and the importance of appropriate communication with, and support for, patients with a lack of capacity to make particular decisions?
  • How do you know staff communicate appropriately with carers and relatives of patients with impaired mental capacity?

Language and communication needs are addressed for people with specific care needs including:  learning disabilities, dementia, stroke, sensory loss, neurological developmental problems and brain injury.

  • What system do you have in place to identify and record the communication needs of people with sensory loss?
  • How do you ensure that the communication needs of people with sensory loss are met? (for example, by ensuring information is available in a format accessible to individuals, such as braille, large print or audio).
  • What training do staff have on how to meet the communication needs of people with sensory loss?

Effective, accessible, appropriate and timely communication is tailored to the needs of each individual person and reasonable adjustments are made as defined in the Equality Act.

  • How do you ensure that you meet the requirements of the All Wales Standards for Accessible Communication and Information for People with Sensory Loss?

Methods of on and off line communication in various languages and accessible formats are used.

  • How do you ensure that you can produce all information in a range of accessible formats (e.g. large print, Braille and audio)?
  • Have you identified transcription services to ensure that you can provide information in accessible formats in a timely way?
  • Are you able to use assistive equipment to facilitate better communication with people who are hard of hearing eg through the use of Sonido Listeners?
  • Are there hearing loop systems installed or have you access to portable hearing loop systems for patients?

Communication is age appropriate and considers people’s ability to engage in health related conversations.

  • How do you assess whether someone needs access to an advocate to participate in health related conversations?
  • What information and guidance is available for staff on arranging advocacy?

Support is given for carers and advocates who in turn are supporting the needs of people with communication needs.

  • How do you ensure you meet the communication needs of family members or carers?
  • How do you comply with the statutory duty under the NHS (Wales) Act 2006 for provision of independent advocacy for people wishing to make a complaint about the health service or primary care?

There is compliance with legislation and guidance to ensure effective, accessible, appropriate and timely communication and information sharing.  The purpose, effectiveness, methods, security and appropriateness of communication is considered internally and externally with patients, service users, carers and staff, and about patient, service users and carers using a range of media and formats. 

  • How do you monitor compliance with the Welsh Language Measure 2011?
  • How do you monitor compliance with All Wales Standards for Accessible Communication and Information for People with Sensory Loss?
  • Have you a communication approach across your organisation that will:
    • enable all agencies that can influence health for the good to do so?
    • enable the public to protect and improve their health, working with the NHS and others?
    • enable clinical staff to help the public and patients protect and improve their health?
    • ensures the resources of the NHS, of other organisations and of the public themselves are used to best effect?
  • Does your organisation / service have a communications strategy sensitive to and agreed with the local community?
  • How do you monitor the effectiveness of systems to facilitate timely two-way communication with the workforce?
  • How do you monitor the effectiveness of your communications systems with the public?
  • How do you monitor the effectiveness of communications with the media?
  • Do you have effective systems to respond to external enquiries?
  • How do you identify and mitigate against risk in respect of this standard?
  • Are all written communications suitable for the reader’s ability to read and understand what is written?
  • Do you use a variety of communication methods to support effective communication?
  • How do you inform patient, service users and carers about the full range and locations of services you provide?
  • Is it easy for the public to feed views to your organisation?  How do you then report back to them on your reaction and response to that feedback?
  • Does your policy on sharing information about patients/ service users and carers fully support their health, while protect their interests?
  • How does your organisation / service make allowances for different communication needs?
  • How does your organisation / service make allowances for different language needs?
  • Is your organisation fully compliant with the Welsh Language Strategy More than Just Words?

Legislation and Guidance


Useful Contacts


Good Practice Guides