Quality assurance for NHS funded libraries has been in place in various forms since 1996.
Service improvement for NHS knowledge and library services
In 2019 HEE introduced the new Quality and Improvement Outcomes Framework for NHS Funded Knowledge and Library Services.
This details six Outcomes that once evaluated will show the level (0 rising to 4) at which a LKS is operating:
- All NHS organisations enable their workforce to freely access proactive knowledge and library services that meet organisational priorities within the framework of Knowledge for Healthcare.
- All NHS decision making is underpinned by high quality evidence and knowledge mobilised by skilled library and knowledge specialists.
- Library and knowledge specialists identify the knowledge and evidence needs of the workforce in order to deliver effective and proactive services.
- All NHS organisations receive knowledge and library services provided by teams with the right skill mix to deliver on organisational and Knowledge for Healthcare priorities.
- Knowledge and library specialists improve the quality of knowledge and library services using evidence from research, innovation and good practice.
- Knowledge and library specialists demonstrate that their services make a positive impact on healthcare
Why do we need the Outcomes?
There are three main reasons why we must evaluate NHS LKS:
- HEE is responsible for ensuring that there are high quality learning environments for all healthcare learners in England.
This is key because LKS staff support both individual and organisational learning and development needs.
- HEE seeks assurance that the funding provided to organisations through the Learning Development Agreement (LDA) is used to deliver knowledge and library services.
These must fulfil the requirements of Knowledge for Healthcare, in line with the NHS Knowledge and library services in England Policy.
The LDA will be replaced by the NHS Education Contract in April 2021.
- The knowledge and library service’s NHS host organisation, and those who commission such services, are required to ensure that the service is helping them meet their obligations under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 .
This ensures “…the use in the health service of evidence obtained from research…” (section 1E) enables the NHS workforce to deliver high quality patient care.
What is the purpose of the Outcomes?
The focus of the six Outcomes is on library and knowledge service improvement. The Outcomes have a dual role, designed and developed to:
- Drive progress in LKS improvement leading to increased satisfaction for users of the services
- Provide a tool for NHS organisations to ensure that LKS specialists deliver a quality, high performing service; one that is continually developing and improving to meet the changing evidence and knowledge needs of organisations and individuals
Features of the Outcomes
The Outcomes are underpinned by four important features:
- A self-evaluation process focusing on LKS quality improvements delivered to the organisation or organisations served
- A whole team approach to planning and gathering information and evidence to support quality improvements made to the library service
- External validation to ensure consistency in self-evaluations and for sharing good practices between services
- A written report and service improvement action plan to demonstrate the service’s performance and indicate areas for further improvement