All posts by Dominic Gilroy

New study identifies positive benefits of the embedded librarian role

A mixed-methods research study, funded by Health Education England, has identified several positive benefits resulting from a librarian working in a critical care team. A return on investment (ROI) analysis indicated that for every £1 invested in the embedded librarian model, a financial value in a range from £1.18 to £3.03 was generated.

Knowledge about conditions and treatments in critical illness can be complex. The critical care team at Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, led by Dr Girendra Sadera, collaborated with the University of Liverpool and the Centre for Health Economics and Medicines Evaluation at Bangor University to design, implement and evaluate a model of knowledge mobilisation, led by a clinical librarian, to support the knowledge requirements of critical care.

A librarian worked alongside staff in the critical care department for 15 months, delivering a “pop up library”, providing evidence support, training both face to face and virtually, and attending meetings, journal club and other departmental activities. The model supported learning and education across all staff groups, nurtured an evidence-based culture and enhanced the quality of care.

The study findings highlight the pivotal role of the critical care nurse in sharing knowledge between staff and patients; the bedside nurse was considered approachable, reassuring, knowledgeable and trustworthy, and they were a preferred source of knowledge for the patient and family.

Findings demonstrate that a librarian working in a clinical team can feasibly support the knowledge requirements of staff. Return on investment analysis indicated that for every £1 invested in the knowledge mobilisation model, a financial value of £1.18 to £3.03 was generated in time saving, enhanced professional development and improved patient care.

For further information about the study please contact Dr Girendra Sadera, Consultant in Critical Care, girendra.sadera@nhs.net.

Health Information Week 2020

Monday 6 – Sunday 12 July 2020
Helping patients and the public find high quality health information!

Health Information Week is a national, multi-sector campaign to promote high quality information for patients and the public. High quality health information can have a huge impact on people’s ability to stay healthy and manage illnesses effectively, giving them a better quality of life.

You can follow us on @Healthinfoweek on Twitter to find out more (and to have a look at last year’s tweets), or you can contact us at healthinfoweek@gmail.com if you have any questions. The hashtag this year will be #HIW2020, so please use this if you use Twitter!

Preparing for Health Information Week 2020: what are the 2020 themes?
We’re sticking with a themed week, with a different focus for each day- and we’ve added a couple of new topics!

  • Monday 6th July: Health literacy
  • Tuesday 7th July: Mental Health
  • Wednesday 8th July: Sepsis
  • Thursday 9th July: Healthy lifestyles
  • Friday 10th July: Mobile apps
  • Saturday 11th July: Mythbusting Common Conditions
  • Sunday 12th July: Wellbeing and mindfulness

There’s no requirement to adhere specifically to these themes, and don’t feel that you have to cover every theme on every day: perhaps choose one or two that inspire you, or find your own topic to run with. We will have a list of useful resources for each theme available, and we will also tweet them on the day using #HIW2020.

Why should I get involved with Health Information Week 2020?

Health Information Week is a national initiative that brings together many different organisations and individuals. One of the biggest benefits that last year’s participants in Health Information Week found was its positive effect on partnership working; reaching out to people- including clerical staff and senior management teams-  who perhaps wouldn’t use the library usually; making contact and improving relationships with other libraries in their local area; reaching out to new members of the public and potential library members. Health Information Week is all about collaboration!

How can I get involved in Health Information Week 2020?

Health Information Week is a great way to showcase the ways that you and your organisation support the provision of quality health information for all. Perhaps you work in a public library, an NHS library, a charity, a school, an art gallery- there are lots of different ways to get involved, and they don’t have to be difficult.

Last year saw a number of organisations doing different things, including:

  • Information stands handing out leaflets, flyers and other literature, showing posters, giving out freebies including fruits, muffins, post-it notes and pens
  • Children’s storytimes about healthy eating
  • Hospital walkabouts with leaflets, hot drinks and biscuits for staff
  • Mindful colouring stands
  • Health information books on display
  • Social media campaign: Twitter and Facebook were popular ways to disseminate information and photos
  • Exercise and relaxation sessions: yoga, Pilates and mindfulness
  • And lots more!

How can I prepare for Health Information Week 2020?

You can start planning now! We have a list of ideas to inspire you: please don’t feel you have to stick exactly to what’s suggested- if you have any new ideas about an event you can run, please share it. We’d love to hear from you, and perhaps someone else will want to give it a go?  Read our evaluation report from Health Information Week 2019 where you can find out more about what other people did and the impact that it had. In April we’ll be publishing some posters, branding templates, and other resources to help you market your event.

Who can I work with to increase my impact?

Think about the other organisations that might like to join you: perhaps NHS libraries, health charities, public libraries, local groups and communities who have an investment in good health information.

What about the people already in your organisation who would partner you? If you work for a hospital, perhaps this includes your Trust’s PALS team, Patient Information and Experience team, patient support groups and charities. If you work for a public library, perhaps you already have links with local health charities and support groups, or even the public health team of your local council.

Please contact us if you have any questions, or need any help finding resources to support your campaign: don’t forget to email us on healthinfoweek@gmail.com, or message us on Twitter @Healthinfoweek!

Achieving an improved staffing ratio

The NHS requires proactive knowledge services as business-critical instruments of informed decision-making. Currently there is significant variation in the ratio of qualified librarians and knowledge specialists to healthcare staff, leading to inequitable service provision across England. This means that the Service is not uniformly able to draw on evidence for #MillionDecisions. The introduction of a recommended staff ratio is a key action by Health Education England to enable individual organisations to identify and address that risk.


For the first time this policy, agreed by the Health Education England Executive in November 2019, provides a set of recommendations from which trusts and arm’s length bodies may look to ensure, and where necessary continuously build, improved staffing levels.

Recommendations:

1. To optimise the benefits for the NHS of the emerging new roles for librarians and knowledge specialists, HEE recommends that all NHS organisations:

  • (i)    review regular reports of the positive impact of the library and knowledge service on outcomes
  • (ii)    work with the local library service manager to prioritise allocation of clinical librarian, knowledge manager and other embedded roles to specialities
  • (iii)   take incremental steps to improve the staff ratio between qualified librarians and knowledge managers per member of the NHS workforce, through role redesign and by expanding this specialist workforce

2. HEE recommends that over time, all NHS organisations aspire to achieving a much-improved staffing ratio

3. HEE recommends that those NHS organisations with a staffing ratio in the region of the current average of 1 qualified librarian to 1,730 or more healthcare staff, strive to achieve a ratio of at least 1 qualified librarian or knowledge specialist per 1,250 WTE NHS staff.

4. HEE commits to monitoring the staff ratios annually and to reviewing the recommended ratio in three years’ time.

Organisations are invited to contact their local HEE Library and Knowledge service lead for support in progressing these recommendations.  

Sue Lacey Bryant
National Lead for NHS Library and Knowledge Services