Stethoscope resting on a laptop next to a paper form.

NHS Accessible Information Standard

“This is an eye clinic; I’m Blind; tell me you’re not pointing!”.

Simon Mahoney, Winging It Blind


Have you ever missed a hospital appointment because you couldn’t read the letter, or maybe you’ve had to ask a friend or relative to read a letter from your consultant, even though you’d rather keep that information private? Or did you miss your appointment slot because you couldn’t see your name flash up on the screen in the waiting room?

What is the NHS Accessible Information Standard

In 2016, the NHS Accessible Information Standard was introduced to address these issues. Unfortunately, according to research by the RNIB 2021, “81 per cent of patients reported having an appointment where their communication needs were unmet”, and “77 per cent of people with accessible information needs reported rarely or never receiving information in alternative formats.” The NHS Information standard requires that NHS Hospitals, GPs, and Adult Social Care providers must do the following: –

  • Identify the communication needs of the people using their services
  • Consistently record those needs, specifying the need rather than the reason. I.e. Requires Large Print, lip reader, needs collecting from the waiting room.
  • Have a consistent flagging system that alerts anyone involved in your care about your communication needs.
  • Sharing (with your consent) your communication needs where appropriate. For example, a GP making a referral to a consultant must include your communication needs.
  • Make sure they meet those needs. The standard allows you to specify the following: –
  • How you would like to be contacted – Telephone, Email, Text etc.
  • What format you would like the information in – Large Print, Braille, Audio, electronic format, Easy Read, BSL Video.
  • What support do you need during your appointment – Sign Language Interpreter, Guide Communicator.
  • Any additional support you need to communicate, such as hearing aids or to be able to lip read.

How to make your communication needs known.

Tell the person providing your care what your communication needs are and ask that they record this information in compliance with the NHS Accessible Information Standard.

If your communication needs are not met.

  • Remind them that they have a legal duty to provide accessible information under the Accessible Information Standard
  • Make an informal complaint via PALs (Patient Advice and Liaison Service)
    • Airedale NHS Trust contact 01535 294019 or email
    • Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust contact 01274 364810, Monday – Friday, 9am – 4pm or email
    • Leeds Teaching Hospitals HHS Trust contact 0113 2066261 or email
    • Contact Healthwatch Bradford District on 01535 665258 or email or Healthwatch North Yorkshire on 01423 788128 or email
Blind Persons TV Licence Concession

Blind Persons TV Licence Concession

As of the 1 August 2020, the BBC scrapped free TV licences for the over 75s unless they receive pension credit. However, you may be able to apply for the Blind Persons TV Licence Concession.

What reductions are available?

You can get a Free TV licence if:-

  • You are over 75 and get pension credit
  • You are over 75, and regardless of if you get pension credit you live in a care home that has an ARC (Accommodation for Residential Care Licence), you need to speak to the care home administrator to see if this applies to you.

You can get a 50% reduction in the cost of a TV Licence if

  • You or someone you live with is Blind/Severely sight impaired regardless of their age.

You don’t need a TV licence if:-

  • You receive TV signals by a digital receiver that can only play sound and not display a picture.

Blind Persons TV Licence Concession

You are eligible for a 50% reduction in the cost of your TV Licence If you or someone you live with is registered Blind or Severely Sight Impaired. For a Colour TV, that’s £79.50, and for a Black and White TV, it is £26.75 (as of 18 December 2023).

How to apply

To apply for the Blind Persons TV Licence concession you can contact TV Licensing on 0300 790 6083 or visit their website at

When you first apply for the Blind person concession, you will need to provide proof that you are Blind or Severely Sight Impaired, this can be either a copy of:-

  • Your CVI (Certificate of Visual Impairment) or BD8 Certificate
  • A certificate or document issued by a Local Authority that shows you are registered as blind (severely sight impaired)
  • certificate from an Ophthalmologist (eye surgeon), stating that you are blind (severely sight impaired

Sight airedale is unable to provide you with proof of your visual impairment. Your GP (they may charge for this) or Hospital should be able to provide you with evidence of your visual status.

If the Blind Person is not the licence payer.

If the Blind person is not the licence payer, you will need to transfer the TV licence into their name, assuming they are over 18 for more information on how to do this visit the TV Licensing website or call them on 0300 790 6083. You will need to have your current TV licence number available.

How to get a refund

If you are currently paying for a full TV licence, you can apply for a refund from the date that you became registered Blind or April 2000, which is when the scheme started. You will need to be able to show that you were registered blind at the time you purchased the licence.

Image shows the Doro 7030 with the text how to set up the Doro 7030 Mobile Phone

How to Set Up and use the Doro 7030 – A Detailed Guide

About this article

The Doro 7030 is a simple-to-use mobile phone. While it’s initially aimed at older people, it can be used by anyone who does not want the complexity of a smartphone or prefers real buttons to a touch screen.

In this video, we will show you how to set up and use the Doro 7030. How to change the display to make it easier for people with low vision to see and demonstrate the emergency function.

Watch our tutorial on setting up and using the Doro 7030

Topics covered in this video

00:00 – Start
01:14 – Installing the Battery and Sim Card
02:05 – Removing the Back Cover
02:28 – Installing the SIM Card
03:51 – Installing the Battery
04:13 – Replace the Back Cover
04:39 – Turning on
05:13 – Charging the phone
05:54 – Orientation
11:11 – Turning the Phone on for the First Time
13:05 – Customising the Display
13:17 – Increasing the Font Size
14:39 – Increase Display Contrast
15:47 – High Contrasting Wallpaper
18:09 – Setting Menu to a List View
19:35 – Customising Sounds
20:25 – Increase Ringtone Volume
21:31 – Setting up the phone Hearing Loss
22:31 – Changing the Ringtone
24:14 – Adding Contacts
25:14 – Turn off predictive text
27:20 – Adding a Contact
28:29 – Calling a Contact
29:17 – Adding a contact to Speed Dial
31:12 – Assign Ringtone to Contact
33:04 – Missed Calls
34:12 – Emergency Button
41:37 – Doro Response

Make your iPad Read Kindle Books to You

Make your iPad read Kindle books out loud with speak screen/selection.


If you don’t normally need VoiceOver but sometimes would like to have text read out to you, then you can use the speak screen/selection feature. In this article and video, we will show you how to activate the speak screen/selection feature and use it to read Kindle Books.

Watch our tutorial on Making your iPad read Kindle Books to you using the speak screen/selection.

Difference between speak screen/selection and VoiceOver

Speak selection/screen is designed to read small blocks of text, and relies on you being able to see enough to choose the block of text you want to see. It does not affect the way in which your apps or gestures work. Whereas VoiceOver is designed to allow you to navigate your iPad without sight and requires that you use additional gestures.

Speak Screen/Selection is ideal for people who can see enough to move around their iPad but sometimes need a little help. VoiceOver is for people who don’t have enough sight to operate their iPad.

To switch on speak screen/selection

  1. Go Settings and choose accessibility
  2. Choose spoken content
  3. Ensure that speak selection and speak screen are turned on.
  4. Also turn on speech controller. This gives you a menu that allows you to access functions of speak screen from anywhere.

Using speak selection to read your book

  1. Press and hold the speech controller button. Speak selection will start reading from the top of the page. And it won’t stop until you ask it to. Alternatively, tap the speech controller button to bring up the speech controller menu. Then, touching the hand button and touching the page will read just that page.
  2. During reading, you can use the next and previous buttons in the speech controller to move between the next and previous pages. You can also pause reading and change the speed. 

For more customisation of voices and reading speed, choose Spoken Content from the Accessibility menu.

Limitations of Speak Selection

  • There is limited navigation, but there is no way of reading just one line or paragraph. So its good for books that you read a page at a time, not so good for reference books where you may want to read a line word for word or even character by character if you’re learning computer code.
  • The speech controller menu sometimes gets in the way and sometimes is not very easy to see against the background.

bequeathed Make your will for good

Get a free will from a leading legal firm

Good for family, good for friends and good for charities like ours.

Make your will for good.  Free and professionally drafted with our partners at Bequeathed - Start you Will

Sight airedale has partnered with Bequeathed to offer an accessible and inclusive service where every supporters can make a free Will For Good. Just follow these simple steps which will take less than an hour of your time:

1. Take our online will interview in as little as 20 minutes Our system creates your will from the answers you give, and we transfer it to one of our partner legal firms.

2. Have a 30-minute telephone or video appointment with a legal professional They will discuss your situation and your wishes and confirm the will caters for your needs.

3. Receive your free will in the post, sign it and have it witnessed You can then return a copy to the legal firm who will check it has been executed correctly.

Having an up to date will is the only way to make sure the people and causes you care about are looked after when you’re gone.

Once you’ve taken care of friends and family, Sight Airedale would be extremely grateful if you would consider supporting them with a gift in your will.

Start your free will

Line Drawing of Dad with children - dad is holding money and a house.
Customise the iPad Kindle App for Low Vision

How to make the Kindle App on the iPad easier to see

In this article, we’ll look at some things you can do to make the Kindle App on the iPad easier to see.

Watch our tutorial on making the iPad Kindle App Easier to see

Increase the font size

When adjusting the font size, don’t simply put it to the maximum. Instead, you want to strike a balance between a large font and enough words on one line to make reading comfortable.

Change the typeface

Many visually impaired people find reading sans-serif fonts such as Helvetica or Amazon Ember Bold easier than serif fonts. The serif refers to the little tail on letters such as T or a.

Graphic illustraing serifs in red, the small tails on the end of letters in Serif Fints.
Serifs are the little tails found on letters such as a – highlighted in red – Source By Recreated by User:Stannered, original by en:User:Chmod007 – en:Image:Serif and sans-serif 03.png, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Change the theme

Many people find that there is too much glare when reading black text on a white background. The Kindle App for iPad has four themes, black on white, brown on sepia, black on mint green and white on black. Many people with Macular Degeneration find reading white text on a black background more comfortable. You can also adjust the brightness of the kindle screen independently of the rest of the ipad to help reduce glare.

Change text alignment to left aligned

Because of unequal spacing between words, many visually impaired people find fully justified text (text where both margins are straight) difficult to read. Once you reach the end of one line, it is harder to find the following line. Changing the text to left aligned gives a jagged right margin, making it easier to locate the following line.

Increase line spacing

Increasing the line spacing makes it easier for the reader to stay on the line they are currently reading without drifting on the line above or below.

Increase the size of the margins.

Many people find reading shorter lines more comfortable than reading long lines of text.

Use the Screen Ruler

The screen ruler helps the reader focus on the line they are currently reading. It also acts as place holder allowing the user to quickly locate their place on the page if they look away from the iPad. However, it does not remember the location on the page between reading sessions.

To access the screen ruler, tap anywhere on the screen, choose Aa and tap on the more tab, then select reading ruler and switch on the reading ruler. There are several ruler styles, so you can experiment to find which best suits you.

Use Siri Shortcuts and Seeing AI to read Barcodes

Use Siri shortcuts and seeing AI to scan and recognise products

Watch our instructional video on using Siri Shortcuts to read Barcodes

Meet Mary

Mary has Macular Degeneration and enjoys listing to her CD collection however she struggles to read the titles of her CDs. The only way she knows that she’s got the right disk is by putting it into her CD player and playing the first track.

In this article, we’ll show how Mary can use her iPhone, Siri and Seeing AI to tell her what CD she is holding.

What is Seeing AI

Seeing AI is an app developed by Microsoft that uses artificial intelligence to recognise text, currency, faces and products and speaks the result.

Installing Seeing AI

If you don’t already have seeing AI, download it from the Apple App Store. VoiceOver will announce it as “Seeing AI talking camera for the blind” the app is free.

Image shows the seeing AI app in teh app store
How Seeing AI appears in the Apple App store.

Setting up Siri Short Cuts

  1. In Seeing AI, navigate to the menu button in the top left-hand corner. VoiceOver will announce “Menu – Button
  2. Swipe right with one finger until VoiceOver announces “settings – button“, then double tap
  3. Swipe right until VoiceOver says Configure “Siri Short Cuts Button”, then double tap
  4. We want to recognise a product so swipe right with one finger until you hear “recognise product
  5. A dialogue box will now appear on the screen and VoiceOver will say “edit in short cuts”, if VoiceOver doesn’t announce it, place your finger in the middle of the screen until you hear VoiceOver say “Hey Siri.
  6. The default phrase is “Hey Siri, Recognise Product” – You can change this to your own phrase by swiping right until you hear “change voice phrase”, the double tap and say the phrase you want to use, you will then hear a beep and voice over will say “insertedfollowed by your phrase, if you’re happy with this swipe right until you reach done.
  7. Your Siri short cut is now set up. Double tap on the back button to return to the main seeing AI screen.

Now all you have to do is say “Hey Siri, Recognise Product”, when Seeing AI sees the barcode it will announce the product name.


So now Mary can use the barcode reader on Seeing AI to tell her what CD she has in her hand. If the CD didn’t exist in the database she could also use the short text feature to read the title, or the document feature to read the track listing.

Mary can also use this to identify other products in her house, such as items in Kitchen cupboards. Or even when she’s out shopping, for Seeing AI to work though you do need an internet connection.

Sun Setting behind pylons

Help with Energy Costs

With the record rise in energy prices over the past year and the rise in October, we look at what help is available. This is what is available as of 17 October 2022.

Energy Price Guarantee

The government has capped the rate at which suppliers can charge for energy until April 2023. For gas this is 10.3p per kWh and for electricity 34p per kWh. The guarantee does not mean you’ll only pay a maximum of £2,500. This figure refers to what a typical household using 242 kWh of electricity and 1,000 kWh of gas a month would pay. If you use more than this, you will pay more.

£400 Energy Bill Discount.

Who gets it? Everyone

How do I get it? You don’t need to do anything your energy supplier will automatically apply it to your bills.

When will I get it? The £400 will be paid over 6 months, to ensure you get support over the winter period. In October and November you will get £66 and in December, January, February and March you will get £67. How you will receive the discount will depend on how you pay for your energy, Direct Debit customers will see a reduction in their monthly Direct Debit or as a refund to their bank account. If you pay your bill each month or use a payment card, the discount will be applied to your account just as if you’d made a payment. If you have a pre-payment meter, you will either get the discount credited directly to your meter or receive it as a voucher. Your energy supplier will let you know which applies to you.

I live off-grid, will I get any support? The government has committed itself to providing the equivalent of the £400 discount to households who don’t have a domestic electricity meter or a direct relationship with an electricity supplier, details of this scheme will be announced in the Autumn.

£300 (per household) Pensioner Cost of Living Payment

Who gets it? People aged 66 or over between 19 and 25 September 2022. There are some exceptions, and you should check

How do I get it? You don’t need to do anything. You will receive £300 on top of your winter fuel payment.

When will I get it? November or December, it will be paid by Direct Debit into the account you normally get your winter fuel payment into.

£650 — Cost of Living Payment

Who gets it? Anyone in receipt of the following means-tested benefits, Universal Credit, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), income-related, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Income Support, Pension Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Working Tax Credit. However, eligibility depends on when you were awarded your benefit, so you should check at to ensure you are eligible

How do I get it? You don’t need to do anything, it will be paid automatically into the account that your qualifying benefit is paid into. However, if you think you should have received payment and haven’t, you can report it by visiting

When will I get it? It depends on what benefit you are on. Most people should have received their first payment of £326 between 14 and 31 July 2022. If you receive tax credit, you will receive your first payment of £326 between the 2 and 7 of September. A further payment of £324 will be made in the Autumn (or Winter 2022 for tax credit recipients) The actual dates have not been announced yet.

£150 — Disability Cost of Living Payment

Who gets it? Anyone in receipt of a non-means tested disability payment such as Personal Independence Payment, Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance or Armed Forces Independence Payment and War Pension Mobility Supplement. Eligibility depends on when you were awarded your benefit

How do I get it? You don’t need to do anything, it will be automatically paid into the account that you receive your benefit payments. If you are in receipt of a disability benefit from both the DWP and MOD, you will only get a payment from the DWP.

When will I get it? You should receive the payment from the 20 September, most people should receive their payment by the beginning of October.

Other help you can get

If you are struggling to pay your energy bills it is important that you talk to your energy provider. They will be able to help you come up with a payment plan and may also have schemes that can help you.

Priority Services Register

The priority services register allows utility companies to identify customers who are vulnerable either through age, illness or disability. By signing up to the priority services register, you can get additional support in the event of service disruptions, such as advance notification of power cuts and extra support whilst the supply is disrupted. Other help includes a password scheme to help you identify callers, the ability to nominate someone else you trust to receive communications from your supplier, help with moving a prepayment meter if you can’t get to it to top up, and regular meter readings if you’re unable to read your meter. For more information on the priority services register, contact your supplier — you only need to register once, and you don’t need to register for each utility

Image by evening_tao on Freepik
Future Vision Visionary Winner 2021

Future Vision wins National Award

We are pleased to announce that we are joint winners of a national award for Future Vision, a project to bring Virtual Technology Events to people living with sight loss

Future Vision is a collaboration between seven local independent sight loss charities (Sight Advice South Lakes – Cumbria, My Sight Notts – Nottingham, Support 4 Sight – West & South Essex, Sight Concern Worcestershire – Worcestershire, Sutton Vision – London Borough of Sutton, Kirklees Visual Impairment Network – Huddersfield West Yorkshire). Each charity takes turns hosting a monthly event on a technology-related topic. The one-hour sessions delivered online via the video conferencing platform Zoom comprise a guest speaker followed by a question-and-answer session.

The Rainbow Award, awarded by Visionary, a national organisation representing local sight loss charities, “highlights the organisations and individuals who have been a Rainbow in the pandemic, through being open and generous; sharing knowledge, challenges, their staff and practical information and examples of what has worked for them.”

Visionary described the future vision project as “The Living Well and Future Vision sessions are an excellent example of collaborative working and enhancing the benefits for blind and partially sighted people in your local communities.” The RNIB who sponsored the award said, “These regular informative sessions called “Living Well” and “Future Vision” have provided a much-needed engagement, stimulation and support during very challenging times. It is a fantastic example of how organisations, by working together, have been able to share resources to create and build something great.”

Antony Horner, ICT Manager at sight airedale, said, “It’s fantastic that we’ve won this award and that other organisations see the value in what we’ve achieved. The beauty of Future Vision is the regularity of the sessions and the variety of topics we’ve been able to cover. This has only been possible through our collaboration with our partner organisations.

Future Vision Technology events take place on the fourth Thursday of each month starting at 10am. For the Zoom link please contact

Retinitis Pigmentosa

What do blind people see? – Retinitis Pigmentosa

Retinitis pigmentosa describes a group of conditions that affect the retina. Retinitis Pigmentosa is a progressive condition and usually presents in childhood. However, in some cases may not appear until the 30s or 40s. In the early stages, the patient may notice that it takes longer for their eyes to adjust to poor light, such as outdoors at dusk or in a dimly lit room. Known as night blindness.

Patients will also experience a gradual reduction in their peripheral vision. Central vision may be affected first in some cases. Retinitis Pigmentosa is a genetic condition and results in the degeneration of the photoreceptor cells (light-sensitive cells) in the retina resulting in loss of vision and, in severe cases, blindness.