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Health Education England collaborates with library and reading experts to improve patient choice

Health Education England (HEE) has signed a memorandum of understanding with leading organisations in the library and reading arena in a bid to promote greater and more personalised healthcare literacy across the population.

 

HEE will work with the Society of Chief Librarians and The Reading Agency to promote the importance of health literacy. The three organisations will work together to devise and launch programmes that allow people to access personalised information that allows them to make more informed choices about their care and treatment and improve the quality of their life.

 

The Society of Chief Librarians leads and manages public libraries in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and advocates continuous improvement in the library service. Its membership is made up of heads of service at each library authority.

 

The Reading Agency is a national charity inspiring people of all ages and all backgrounds to read for pleasure and empowerment. Working with partners, their aim is to make reading accessible to everyone.

 

The provision of high quality, evidence-based, accessible health information is an important driver in HEE’s Knowledge for Healthcare Framework for NHS library and knowledge services, published in 2015. The framework was developed to enable NHS bodies, staff, learners, patients and the public to use the right knowledge and evidence at the right time and place to enable better clinical decision-making.

 

Patrick Mitchell, Director, South of England, Health Education England said:

“I am delighted to sign the Memorandum of Understanding with the Society of Chief Librarians and The Reading Agency. It is a very positive step towards collaborating across sectors to underpin health literacy, ensuring people can access high quality information to assist them to make informed choices about their care and treatment.”

 

Sue Wilkinson, Chief Executive of The Reading Agency, commented:

“It is with great pleasure that we are able to formalise this important new partnership with Health Education England. We look forward to using the MOU to activate an exciting programme of activity supporting our shared work with the Society of Chief Librarians on Reading Well and the Universal Health Offer as well as HEE’s ambitions for the delivery of Patient and Public Information.”

 

Neil MacInnes, President of The Society of Librarians, added:

“It’s wonderful news that SCL and The Reading Agency’s work with HEE has now been formally ratified. Our partnership will strengthen the delivery of Reading Well and the Universal Health Offer through public libraries – keeping people in our communities active and engaged as we continue to support their health and wellbeing.”

 

For further information contact louise.goswami@nhs.net or Ruth.Carlyle@hee.nhs.uk

ICLC Report – Lorna Dawson – Knowledge Service Assistant – Greater Manchester Mental Health

On Thursday 21st and Friday 22nd September 2017, I attended the International Clinical Librarian Conference, thanks to funding awarded by NHS Health Education England. Healthcare library professionals from as far as America, Iran and Denmark converged on Leicester Racecourse and presented on multiple aspects on the clinical librarian role. I attended with a view to discovering more about the role to assess my suitability for it, and if so, what skills I would need to secure a CL post. Here I give you a taste of a few of the talks I saw and what I learnt from the conference as a whole.

Steve Glover and Olivia Schaff’s presentation showed me how important librarians can be in directing the future of research. Olivia worked with a group of librarians to conduct a systematic review of endometriosis research. Through identifying all the research available, areas where research was currently lacking could be identified and then ranked in terms of priority for further research. It was the first time I’d heard of librarians working in this way and I thought it was a really great use of our skills to influence the future of research.

One of my favourite talks was Bennet Jones and Katie Barnard on setting up a CL service at North Bristol NHS Trust. The creativity with which they developed the service was inspiring: from Bennett’s posters of Nurse Norman who was sad until he found the library, to their willingness to shadow surgeons in order to get a better understanding of their needs, to Katie’s abuse of the AOB section in staff meetings.

Farhad Shokraneh had everyone in a state of disbelief as he reported on clinical librarianship in Iran. Clinical librarianship is almost unheard of there and Farhad is possibly the only one of his kind in the country. He sits with a laptop in the emergency services department finding answers for enquiries there and then as staff come up to him, a bit like a human Cochrane Clinical Answers. It is possibly the fastest paced environment that a CL works in.

Lessons learnt

  • When people ask you to do a systematic review, or in my case a literature search – ask as many questions as possible but particularly: What do you mean by a ‘systematic review’? and What’s your deadline?
  • Being proactive and tenacious is key to establishing a new CL service. Provide the search that team needed but didn’t ask for. Don’t give up because a department didn’t take immediate interest.
  • Attend as many meetings as possible. Make connections with people on the wards, with heads of services, as many people as possible.
  • The CL role is very flexible. It can be defined in essence as meeting the information needs of clinical staff but these needs could be very different from department to department, from Trust to Trust and a CL needs to be flexible, creative and responsive to meet those different needs.
  • It is an exciting, fulfilling role where you can see the impact you have on staff, their practices and patient care.

Many thanks to Health Education England for funding my place at the ICLC 2017. It was an invaluable experience and from it I can say that I would definitely look to apply to CL posts in the future.

Lorna Dawson
Knowledge Service Assistant
Greater Manchester Mental Health

5 Top Tips to Reach Public Health Teams

Positively promoting health and wellbeing and preventing ill health has arguably never been more important. Responsibility for local public health services rests with local authorities. Public health professionals face a complex task. They work in locally specific, politically sensitive and financially constrained contexts.

Evidence from research and learning from best practice are key to their success in influencing decision-making. Yet, the fact is that some 40% of local authority public health teams do not currently have access to healthcare library and knowledge services.

Where information professionals have been able to apply their skills they find it rewarding work, and quickly prove their value.

“Public health staff are keen, appreciative and great ambassadors for our service. Sometimes they search themselves, sometimes they ask us – searches can be complex but have given us the opportunity to stretch develop our knowledge and skills.”

Anne Lancey, Library Service Manager, Isle of Wight NHS Trust

We don’t underestimate the challenge of reaching public health teams – but that 40% gap represents a real risk for them and an opportunity for NHS library and knowledge services to make a significant contribution. What can you do?

1 – Benefit from the experience of colleagues

We’ve drawn on the experience of the knowledge specialists and library teams already supporting public health to create a public health toolkit for NHS librarians who want to reach out to public health. It will also be useful for those looking to further develop their service offer. The Toolkit covers the basics – like ‘What do public health staff do?’. Critically it also covers the nitty-gritty – practicalities such as service specifications and charging models.

‘I’m fairly new to the NHS, so found the networking/best practice support sections of the toolkit most useful. That said the SLA elements will be very helpful when it comes to renewing our agreements in 2018”.

William Henderson, Assistant Librarian, Luton and Dunstable Hospital NHS Foundation Trust:

2 – Join lis-publichealth

Join the growing community of information professionals who support public health and/or want to share ideas and learn from those who do. Sign up here.

3 – Connect with Public Health England librarians and knowledge specialists

Are you linked with the PHE knowledge and library specialists in your area? They don’t provide direct services to local authorities – hence the opportunity for enterprising NHS librarians. However, they can support NHS librarians by producing guides, sharing tips, coordinating networks and helping you to make contacts.

4 – Come to the PHE study day on Wednesday 15 November in London

NHS librarians supporting, or aspiring to support, local authority public health staff are warmly invited to attend the PHE knowledge team’s annual study day in London. There’ll be speakers from PHE, NICE, NIHR and CHAIN. It’ll be a great opportunity to network, learn and debate. Watch out for details on lis-publichealth.

5 –Be ready to seize fresh opportunities to make an impact and to strengthen your business

Local authority public health staff now have access to the 1,300 plus full-text journals funded by PHE, as well as the core content titles purchased by the NHS, via a new bespoke discovery portal. PHE knowledge staff will promote the portal, and this is a perfect opportunity for NHS library managers to step in with the offer to provide value-added knowledge support services to local authority staff.

Helen Bingham, Head of Knowledge Services and TEL, HEE (South) & Wendy Marsh, Senior Knowledge & Evidence Manager, PHE