Category Archives: Service Transformation

Mergers and Amalgamations

Can there be any one of us working in the NHS who isn’t affected in some way by a new working relationship with another organisation? The NHS landscape is changing at a faster pace than previously, and driven mostly by financial pressures mergers/alliances and partnerships have been springing up in many places.  

Does this affect our library services? If so how, and how do you survive a time of organisational change which may see the joining of two previously separate services?  

To help try and answer some of these questions a Task and Finish Group was set up to develop a toolkit for supporting service redesign – including mergers, amalgamations and the potential for ‘fewer services covering larger geographies’.  

The Task and Finish Group set about combining their experiences of having been through some sort of “coming together” to produce materials which might benefit colleagues who find themselves in a similar position.  

This group has now concluded the initial task and have produced an ABC Guide, shared case studies and background reading to support library staff and their managers through the often difficult process of coming together.  

These materials are the start and there is a case study template available for anyone who wishes to share their experience for the benefit of others. Please contribute to this developing resource.  

 The work is not intended to be the definitive guide to how (or how not!!) to combine services but highlights some common issues which you might encounter and things that will happen that you might not expect. 

 The following are the members of the Task and Finish Group who produced the guide and supplementary information 

 Emma Aldrich, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust 

Helen Alper, Barts Health NHS Trust 

Daryl Bate, University Hospitals of the North Midlands NHS Trust 

Sam Burgess, Southern Health NHS Trust 

Catherine Fisher, City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust & South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust 

Mic Heaton, Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 

Becky Williams, Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust 
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Sue Lacey Bryant

Topol Review Programme Manager;
& Senior Advisor, Knowledge for Healthcare

Health Literacy: an issue for life

To make good decisions about our health, we need to find, understand, appraise and apply health information.  This is the essence of good health literacy.

 

What is the issue?

Levels of health literacy in England are very low: 43% of working age adults cannot understand textual health information, rising to 61% when a numeracy element is added (1); and 43% adults are unable to calculate paracetamol dosage for a child based on age and weight (2).  Individual health literacy also varies.  If someone has just had a significant diagnosis, then their ability to comprehend information will be reduced.

As people live longer with multiple health conditions, they need to be able to make the treatment choices that are right for them, and to understand how to use self-management techniques or take medications.

 

What role for health library staff?

Working with patients and the public takes different forms within NHS library and knowledge services.  All depend upon library and knowledge services staff having the confidence to see how core skills in finding evidence and appraising sources apply to health information materials for patients and the public.  Supporting the health literacy awareness of colleagues, and identifying information resources of differing levels of complexity, can enable library and knowledge services to have an impact on the way that patient information materials are used.  This supports treatment choice and effective self-management of health conditions.  For this reason, health literacy is a priority for Knowledge for Healthcare work on patient and public information in 2018-2020

Library personnel in education and public library sectors are keen to collaborate on health literacy, as the information literacy and digital literacy skills that they promote feed into health literacy. Whereas good information literacy in education may be seen as a short-term benefit for coursework, health literacy is a life skill.

 

What next?

In 2018-19 we will be offering training on health literacy awareness and accredited “train the trainer” training for health library and knowledge services staff in England, which can be used as the basis of training for NHS staff and partner organisations, including public libraries.

In the meantime, resources are available to increase your awareness of health literacy issues, with tools that you can use.  Working with NHS England, Public Health England and the Community Health and Learning Foundation, Health Education England has developed a health literacy toolkit, including case studies and a “how to” guide https://www.hee.nhs.uk/our-work/health-literacy .

If you have ideas, questions or would like to be involved in shaping health literacy activity, contact Ruth.Carlyle@hee.nhs.uk

Ruth Carlyle

References

  • Rowlands, G. et al. A mismatch between population health literacy and the complexity of health information: an observational study. British Journal of General Practice Jun;65(635):e379-86. doi: 10.3399/bjgp15X685285. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26009533
  • Mayor, S. 2012. Nearly half adults in England don’t understand health information, study indicates. British Medical Journal 345:e8364 https://www.bmj.com/content/345/bmj.e8364

The Library and Knowledge Service for NHS Ambulance Services in England [LKS ASE] was launched in April 2018

LKS ASE is a partnership between eight English ambulance services to provide national coverage.  The new service operates in four key areas:

  1. Request an Article – complete an online form and request any article you need.
  2. Request a search – complete the online form to request a literature search.
  3. Current Awareness – sign up for monthly current awareness updates.
  4. Guides and Help – the library has written guides on topics related to searching, research and paramedic practice.

LKS ASE is working with Manchester University NHS Trust Library Services to deliver a document supply service.  Further developments are planned for the future to extend the service offering including an implementation of KnowledgeShare and a repository.

The plan for the next three years of operation is set out in the LKS ASE Strategy.   If you have any comments on the strategy please feed them back to Matt.Holland@nwas.nhs.uk .

For more information about the library:

London Ambulance Service and South East Coast Ambulance Service already have services in place and are not part of the new arrangements.