Health literacy is about people having sufficient knowledge, understanding, confidence and skills to cope with the complex demands of modern health care. Meeting people’s health literacy needs and communicating in meaningful ways is key to delivering person-centred care. It also improves the safety and effectiveness of care, and helps address health inequalities.

Introduction to health literacy

Health Literacy in Scotland: Making it Easy

Why must we make it easy? It has been found that people remember and understand less than half of the information that we discuss with them, also you can’t tell who has understood by simply looking at them. Improving people’s understanding is crucial for improving patient safety, communication, effectiveness, self management and health literacy. The Patient Rights (Scotland) Act 2011 states that people should be communicated with in a way that they can understand and that healthcare staff should make sure the patient has understood the information given.

“This is Bad Enough” by Elspeth Murray

Elspeth Murray’s poem “This is Bad Enough” underscores the importance of taking health literacy demands into account when communicating health information or interacting with patients in a healthcare setting. Click below for link to a YouTube video of Elspeth Murray reciting the poem.

This is bad enough - poem

Online Learning Tools and Support

There is a range of online tools for learning available from organisations across the world but which can be accessed online from any local online connection.

On-line Learning tools and Support

What Can I do?


Find out more



Health Literacy e-Learning Module

What Is Happening in Health Literacy

What is happening in Health Literacy

Health Literacy Place on Twitter



More to explore

Tools for Practice

Here you will find a range of tools and techniques to inform your health literacy sensitive practice and support you in communicating health information to patients.

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Training/awareness materials

Here you will find a range of materials available to support you in raising awareness of health literacy with colleagues and peers.

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