NHS service standard - 5. Make sure everyone can use the service

Make sure people with different physical, mental health, social, cultural or learning needs can use your service, whether it's for the public or staff.

Also people who do not have access to the internet or lack the skills or confidence to use it.

Why it's important

NHS services are for everyone. We have a duty to consider everyone’s needs when we’re designing and delivering services.

Inclusive, accessible services are better for everyone. For example, using simple words helps people who are sick or stressed as well as people who have a learning disability.

What you should do

Your team should be able to show that you:

  • meet accessibility standards for online and offline parts, including WCAG2.1 AA
  • understand who the most vulnerable users for your service are and include them in user research, for example: people with access needs, people with low socio-economic status (D and E), older people, and black and minority ethnic people
  • make sure you do not exclude any groups your service serves, for example because they lack digital skills or internet access, and you provide assisted digital support to cover any gaps
  • avoid making any groups of people feel excluded
  • design for low digital and health literacy


NHS digital service manual

GOV.UK resources

Read more about this

Other help

Get in touch

If you’ve got a question about the NHS digital service manual or want to feedback, get in touch.

Updated: December 2019