Enquiry service

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The Library as an enquiry service for patients and the public

“No decision about me, without me. This can only be realised by involving patients fully in their own care, with decisions made in partnership with clinicians, rather than by clinicians alone.” (2)

Many patients and members of the public may be actively involved in decisions about their health and may visit the library with a specific health-related query. Library staff are well-placed to signpost them to reliable, high quality material.

For example:

“I am due to see my consultant this afternoon and would like some information on Parkinson’s and physical activity. Can you suggest anything?”

You may decide to print material from NHS Choices, Parkinson’s UK or similar sites. Your Trust may already have a patient information leaflet on this that you can access and give them. Or you may let them use a non-networked PC to look up information for themselves.

For more detailed advice on determining the boundaries and advice on dealing with such enquiries, see Dealing with enquiries

Idea Guidance Links to relevant websites, Innovation awards, examples etc.
Arrange a procedure for referral of complex queries



Voluntary Organisations

Make local public libraries aware of content of your stock and services available and devise a plan for when they get a complex health enquiry. (ask other libraries to share theirs)

Make your library open to individual referrals from other sector libraries – others will tell you that this does not result in floods of referrals!

Your local Macmillan team has a significant amount of experience in helping with health enquiries from the public and is a potential area for partnership working.

Innovation Award 5