Has anyone used these 'access cards'?: Hi all Someone... - NRAS


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Has anyone used these 'access cards'?

Victoria-NRAS profile image

Hi all

Someone mentioned 'access cards' to us a little while ago on the helpline; something that they had used themselves and found to be helpful.

We are considering putting a link to this page on our website, but we link to a number of pages and it can be hard to decide who to put a link to, especially based on just one person's experience. I therefore wanted to see if anyone on here has come across these and if so, if they found them helpful.

Here is a link to their site:


The basic idea is that it is a card you can carry which demonstrates that you have a health condition, so might need extra support. As RA is not a visible condition, I can see that something like this could be helpful in certain situations, but it isn't free (it costs £15 for 3 years).

So, if you've used it, please let us know your experience and whether you'd recommend it. If you haven't, you may want to have a look at the site and see what you think, and again, should you choose to get one, we'd be interested in your feedback.

Many thanks



15 Replies

My son who is in a public service told me that they look on the ICE bit of your mobile phone. All else is useless, and I take a medication that stops clotting so its imperative that in an accident that the people attending know that about my condition. I do have a bracelet but am not sure this is a useful bit of kit that would supersede a phone.

I'm interested but would not purchase something like this. The phone ICE allows the input of meds and is easily accessible too.

At a First Aid course I went on the ex-ambulance driver leading it said he always checked people's phones for medical info.

He recommended an app, and tells everyone to put something like that on their phone. The important thing is to make sure it's accessible even if the phone is locked and you can't give password. So just having ICE in your contacts may not work depending on your phone.

There are a range of apps, from 79p to £5 - so cheaper than an access card. It's very easy on an iPhone, You just go to the health App - icon is a red heart in a white square. Then open medical info icon in bottom right and click on create medical info in centre. You can then enter important medical history and the medicines you take and contact details for spouse etc. When you have "done" if you tap on "Emergency " then it's always accessible.

flow4 profile image
flow4 in reply to helixhelix

Hi helix, I don't suppose you have a link do you please? I've looked in the App Store but can't find it...

helixhelix profile image
helixhelix in reply to flow4

Wasn 't being very clear was I! If you have an iPhone there should already be an app installed - a red heart on a white background. Open it and follow instructions. If you don't have an iPhone there are apps to buy, but check they work with screen locked.

Or, for any smartphone, there is a hack you can do.

1. Open any note-taking app.

2. Type whatever ICE information you want in the note. Make sure you have margins on all sides and that the text easily fits on one screen.

3. Take a screenshot of that note.

4. Use that note as your lock screen wallpaper.

With this method, an emergency responder will have to dial the number that appears on the lock screen wallpaper, rather than have the phone dial it for him or her, but it's better than nothing! Especially if you just want to list meds.

flow4 profile image
flow4 in reply to helixhelix

Ah. I have an iPhone 4S but no such app, sadly. The 'hack' is a good idea too, though I'm not sure about having such personal info so immediately visible...

Cathy777 profile image
Cathy777 in reply to helixhelix

Will definitely look at this. Thank you

Matilda7 profile image
Matilda7 in reply to helixhelix

Thanks for this information. Have just downloaded a free app called ICE data provider for my galaxy phone, and put my emergency contacts and medical drugs on it.

I have never heard of them but sounds good in theory . Is it a bit like a medical alert card?

I know everyone is glued to their phone, but not everyone has one or indeed an iPhone. I have an Amazon Fire (not ideal and would not recommend) . And it is limited on the apps I can access.

Would this access card be a good substitute? It would have to be well advertised. As ICE was. so that in an emergency people new what to look


I could be writing rubbish here as I am not well informed on the subject.

But it sounds a good idea.

I wouldn't pay for one, but I have noticed that there is a free transport access card available (that you show to a bus driver, or at the train station, etc) which indicates what kind of help you might need). I've considered getting one of those. Access cards are a nice idea, but if there are a number of different sorts of them, then I don't think they will ever get to the stage of being universally recognisable like the blue badge, so I don't know how much use they would be if someone you showed it do queried it or didn't believe it. There used to be a "can't wait" card for people with bladder and bowel problems, and it was designed to give access quickly to a toilet, but I heard a lot of stories of people who had had the card completely disregarded. I do have ICE contacts in my phone - as medway-lady says, that is a fairly universally recognised emergency services thing, and I'd consider getting a medicalert bracelet if I thought it would be useful.

Hi Victoria. This is potentially something I would use but wonder if they are recognised enough. How much clout they have basically. I would be more frustrated having one rejected than not having one at all. I don't know enough yet as never heard of them before. Thank you for mentioning them.

Finally looked at the access card info, and we have diverted a bit off the subject of your question as more about day to day emergencies & living than the emergency services.

So my concern is same as Cathy777 - would the card be recognised? I can also imagine that for those of us whose RA is completely invisible, we wouldn't be believed anyway even with a card.

I read something recently that said that even with all the electronic gadgets to help emergency services paramedics and doctors still look around the neck or wrists for medical information on bands or necklaces. The reason given was that people are sometimes separated from their personal belongings and paramedics or doctors do not have time to start looking through bags and pockets and dialling telephone numbers.

I have an alert card for enbrel which is made of card but to be honest it is never easily visible as it is in my bag. It was very helpful when I produced it at A&E as I was given a red card to go straight through to majors.

However my coloured ID wrist band with personalised medical information is always around my wrist when I am out and about. It looks like a NRAS charity wrist band that lots of people wear but it has the medical sign and comes in all colours and you create your own message. Cheap and cheerful and I feel safe. All personal information can be inside the band so it is private.

I wouldn't be without it especially when on my own.


I always wear a Medicalert bracelet. This has basic information on the back but also has a telephone number which people can use to get my full medical details including a list of all my medications. My husband also has a Medicalert bracelet but his is a black leather band.

I have considered taking a copy of my blue badge and carrying that but haven't got around to it yet.

Hi all

Yes, this wouldn't be aimed at replacing medical alert cards and wouldn't be for medical emergencies so much as other situations where you would need help because of your disability. To give you an example, a lady I spoke to who was considering getting one wanted to be able to show something to people when she needed a seat on public transport, because her condition was invisible, so she felt people thought she was misusing the seat (we talked also about disabled person's railcard etc).

I agree that part of the problem might be that it's not recognised, though on the website you can look to see if particular companies in your area acknowledge the card, and of course the more people purchase them the better known they will become.

Thought it would be worth seeing if anyone on here happens to have used it (or something similar) as that would give me an idea of whether they found it was accepted a lot of places. It doesn't seem like anyone has so far, but I'll keep an eye on this post in case someone sees it in the future and has used one.

Thanks to everyone for your comments.



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