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.”