Access support cards

Elaine Savory (left), Equality and Diversity Advisor, and Professor Hazel Borland, Nurse Director, show a model of the card – the real card will be the size of a credit card and will fit in your wallet. It will also have a curved edge to help people with visual impairments to find it easily.

NHS Ayrshire & Arran is introducing voluntary access support cards for patients who have additional support needs due to disability or long-term conditions.


While some disabilities may be visible, many are hidden but can still affect your ability to benefit from your appointment when attending hospitals or medical practices. These may range from poor mobility or hearing issues to a mental health condition, learning disability or long-term condition. Some examples of when you may need a card are: if you have a visual impairment but do not use a guide dog or cane, but have difficultly seeing people and things that are not in close proximity; or if you have a hearing impairment and may struggle to hear your name being called out in a busy surgery.


Our wallet-sized, double-sided access support cards can alert staff about any additional support you may need when attending your appointment. They are also designed so that anyone with visual impairments can find it easily. A section at the back can also be used for an emergency contact if you wish to record this.


If you decide to use the access support card, you can hand it over to the receptionist when you are attending your appointment. Your card would either be attached to your case notes or used to make a note on them to make staff aware that you may need extra help. You can also tell staff what extra help you need. The card would then be returned to you at the end of your appointment.


Professor Hazel Borland, Nurse Director, commented: “We want all of our staff members to be aware that people may come to an appointment with an access support card, and that that means they need additional support to attend their appointment as easily as possible.


“We are actively encouraging our staff to think about what type of assistance someone requires when they come for an appointment - it may not always be what we think.”


Anyone who thinks they would like an access support card should email Elaine Savory, Equality and Diversity Advisor at