“Every politician, every system leader should be asking, ‘Where is your librarian…?’”
Patrick Mitchell, Director of Innovation and Transformation, Health Education England suggested this at the conclusion of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Libraries meeting on Mon 2 Nov 2020.
A ground-breaking independent value proposition report Library and Knowledge Services Value Proposition: The Gift of Time was launched at the APPG. The report outlines the true value of NHS Library and Knowledge Services and demonstrates both a direct and indirect effect on the care patients receive. Library and Knowledge Services make a positive impact on the Service as a whole, representing an economic value of millions of pounds to the NHS.
All healthcare staff are short of an invaluable resource – time. Time to spend caring for their patients while being confident they are using the most relevant, evidence-based information to plan and deliver that care. Health librarians and knowledge specialists make the gathering of information as easy as possible for healthcare professionals, relieving the burden of sourcing and synthesising evidence while enabling NHS organisations to meet their statutory obligation to use evidence from research.
Read the report and look at the findings from a recently published international literature review [see p21 of Report for list of referenced materials] that showed that for every $1 of funding spent on library and knowledge services a return of $2.4 is received. If applicable to the NHS it suggests that library and knowledge services are already delivering a net economic benefit of £77m per annum. Were Health Education England’s recommended staff ratio for qualified librarians per member of the NHS workforce achieved, this could increase to £106m per annum. Moreover, this includes only the benefits of time saving and expense, not the value of improvement to patient care, safety, and operational efficiencies.
Patrick Mitchell said: “This report gives us some truly great insight into the value that embedded NHS Library and Knowledge Services bring to staff at all levels of the healthcare system when planning and delivering care for local people.
“Librarians are probably not the first role that spring to mind when people think about the NHS. However, the part they play, and the specialist expertise they provide, give clinicians some of the most important tools they have to treat patients effectively – information, and time. All the evidence shows that the right knowledge services improve outcomes for patients.
Sue Lacey Bryant, National Lead for NHS Library and Knowledge Services, Health Education England said: “We are passionate about the positive impact that librarians and knowledge managers have on the quality of care. Our regional library teams will now work with NHS organisations and local NHS library services to help the NHS fully realise all these benefits.”
We know that you will want to bring these key messages to the attention of key stakeholders across the organisation(s) that your service supports. Our HEE Comms team have produced some copy text that you are welcome to use/adapt and personalise to promote this report in your organisation and demonstrate the value of your library and knowledge services. https://southlks.libguides.com/publicity/home