COVID-19 information for people with communication differences

COVID-19 information for people with communication differences

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Thursday, 4 March 2021

COVID-19 information on NHS inform

NHS inform has a significant amount of information on COVID-19, in English and in alternative formats, as well as a self help guide: to check your symptoms and find out what to do next.

This is being regularly updated with the latest clinically approved guidance in partnership with Public Health Scotland. Visit:

They have also developed brand new communication channels to help as many people as possible access the COVID-19 information they are providing. 


Alternative formats

NHS Inform are providing alternative formats to help people with communication differences
access COVID-19 information:

        •    translations in Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Farsi, Hindi, Polish, Punjabi, Romanian, Slovak,
              Spanish and Urdu are available. Visit:

        •    British Sign Language (BSL) translations are available on NHS inform:
              and on YouTube channel:

        •    audio versions:

        •    easy read documents:

The Browsealoud tool helps users access information on NHS inform by: reading this aloud, highlighting and magnifying text, creating audio files. Find out more here:


Other communication channels

We’ve developed tools, giving people a choice of how to get the COVID-19 information they need:

        •    chat bot: ask COVID questions directly on the website:
              This is an automated service. Users who can’t find the information they need will be offered the option to start a webchat

        •    NHS 24 COVID app: available to download free from the App Store and Google Play.
              This includes the COVID-19 symptom checker and COVID-19 information from NHS inform

        •    webchat: option offered to people who call the COVID helpline (0800 028 2816)

        •    voice bot: automated voice option lets people who don’t use the internet access the coronavirus self-help guide. This is available by phoning the NHS inform helpline (0800 22 44 88)


Getting COVID-19 information over the phone

People with communication differences can access the COVID-19 helpline (and all other NHS 24 phone services) in a number of ways:

        •    people whose first or preferred language is not English can use Language Line (a free over the phone interpreting service).

        •    British Sign Language (BSL) users can use contactSCOTLAND-BSL (a free BSL interpreting video relay service). Find out more here

        •    people with hearing and speech differences  can use Relay UK (a national relay service
              accessible via textphone or the Relay UK app). Find out more here