Accessibility for NHS Patient Surveys Website

Using this service

We want as many people as possible to be able to use this service. For example, that means you should be able to:

●      change colours, contrast levels and fonts
●      zoom in up to 400% without the text spilling off the screen
●      navigate most of the site using just a keyboard
●      navigate most of the site using speech recognition software
●      listen to the service using a screen reader (including the most recent versions of JAWS, NVDA and VoiceOver)

We’ve also made the text as simple as possible to understand.

Some of our content is technical, and we use technical terms where there is no easier wording we could use without changing what the text means.

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

How accessible this service is

We know that some parts of the website aren’t fully accessible. This means that some people may find parts of it difficult to use:

●      we have a large number of documents which are in Word, PDF, Excel and PowerPoint format, and haven’t been designed for accessibility

●      we have a large number of images, charts and tables in documents and on web pages that do not have alternative text descriptions. Some of these images contain text. Where these are images, it is not possible to enlarge them

●      you cannot personalise the settings for colours and fonts

●      there are parts that are difficult or impossible to understand or use with a screen reader

●      there are parts that are difficult or impossible to reach or use without a mouse or by touching the screen

●      you cannot modify the line height or spacing of text

●      you cannot skip to the main content when using a screen reader

What to do if you have difficulty using this service

If you have difficulty using this service, contact us by:

●      email:
●      telephone: 03000 616161

We’ll consider your request and get back to you as soon as possible.

Reporting accessibility problems with this service

We’re always looking to improve the accessibility of this service. If you find any problems that are not listed on this page or think we’re not meeting accessibility requirements, contact:

Enforcement procedure

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’). If you’re not happy with how we respond to your complaint, contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS).

Technical information about this service’s accessibility

CQC is committed to making this service accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.

This service 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 listed below is non-accessible for the following reasons.

Non-compliance with the accessibility regulations

Images on website

We use images on the website. For example, images are used to illustrate tasks required to run a survey such as entering and submitting data.

These images do not have a text alternative, so the information in them is not available to people using a screen reader. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.1.1 (non-text content).

We are working to add text alternatives for all diagrams. If we add new diagrams, we’ll make sure they meet accessibility standards. `

PDFs and other documents

This website contains a large number of documents that do not meet accessibility standards. They may not be fully accessible to screen reader software. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 4.1.2 (name, role, value). Many of these documents also contain images that do not have alternative text.

Most of these documents are produced for us by other organisations using their internal templates making it difficult for a different organisation to fix.

When we add new documents we’ll make sure they meet accessibility standards.


The most frequently downloaded documents from the website are the questionnaires. It is not possible to change these documents as their wording and appearance have been carefully designed. They are intended to be printed off as postal questionnaires. They are not designed for completion online.

People who receive a questionnaire can request alternative formats including Braille, EasyRead, large font and telephone completion. A telephone translation helpline is also available.

Fillable forms

The website contains forms such as checklists that need to be downloaded and shared with other organisations. As some of these forms need sharing with more than one organisation (such as approved contractors and then survey coordination centres) a digital alternative (such as an online form) is not currently possible. Whilst we will try and publish these forms in the most accessible way as possible, some of these forms will not be fully accessible. We will try to find digital solutions in the future.

Disproportionate burden

We’ve assessed that it would be a disproportionate burden within the meaning of the No. 2 Regulations to fix all documents published on NHS Patient Surveys website since 23 September 2018.

Many of these documents have been infrequently viewed in the last year and therefore are not negatively impacting users with disabilities or impairments. Looking at a one year period between July 2019 – July 2020, of the 2,978 documents downloaded in this time, 2,771 have been downloaded less than 30 times and 1,062 of these have only been downloaded once.

Additionally, many of these documents will be superseded by new publications. For example, survey materials (such as instruction manuals) are published for each survey iteration. Once a survey has completed materials are no longer essential for the provision of services.

For some of these documents the information is available in alternative formats. For example, the most recent benchmark data for trusts is available in an accessible way on the CQC website. Historic benchmark data for trusts is also available in excel format.

For these reasons, we don’t believe the cost of time, effort and resource to fix all the documents is justified. However, if there is a specific document that you would like to request in an accessible format, we will do our best to provide this where possible.

We will focus on fixing the most viewed documents and ensuring that new documents published (that are not intended to be printed for use) are accessible.

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

Many of our older PDFs and Word documents produced before 23 September 2018 do not meet accessibility standards – for example, they may not be structured so they’re accessible to a screen reader. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 4.1.2.

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.

Any new PDFs or Word documents we publish (that are not intended to be printed for use) will meet accessibility standards.

How we tested this service

The NHS Patient Surveys Website was last tested in May 2020 and was checked for compliance with WCAG 2.1 AA. The test was carried out by a member of the Surveys Team at the Care Quality Commission using the basic accessibility checklist.

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

We are working on ways to improve the accessibility of this website.

The NHS Patient Surveys Website was redeveloped in 2019 to improve website navigation making it easier for people to find what they need. The website will be further upgraded in 2021 and compliance with the WCAG 2.1 AA accessibility standard will be built into this site. The new website will include an interactive tool which will replace the current trust level benchmark reports which are in PDF format.

This page was prepared on 23 September 2020.  This accessibility statement will be updated on completion of work to update the website described above.