The NHS library and knowledge services in England Policy was approved by the Health Education England Executive on the 29th November 2016. The policy sets out for the first time our approach to delivering on the key objective of enabling access to knowledge and evidence for healthcare decision makers.
The policy states that Health Education England is committed to:
- Enabling all NHS workforce members to freely access library and knowledge services so that they can use the right knowledge and evidence to achieve excellent healthcare and health improvement.
- Developing NHS librarians and knowledge specialists to use their expertise to mobilise evidence obtained from research and organisational knowledge to underpin decision-making in the National Health Service in England
- Developing NHS library and knowledge services into a coherent national service that is proactive and focussed on the knowledge needs of the NHS and its workforce
View the full policy statement here
To realise these aims, and to more strongly profile the positive impact of NHS librarians and knowledge specialists, the HEE Executive have wholeheartedly endorsed our joint campaign with CILIP, #AMillionDecisions. Under the Health and Social Care Act, 2012 there is a duty on behalf of the Secretary of State for Health to ensure “the use in the health service of evidence obtained from research”. This campaign will encourage key decision-makers in the health service to meet their obligation under the Act by utilising the expertise of health library and knowledge specialists.
Look for more information about #AMillionDecisions, due to launch in late January 2017. Updates will be published on both the HEE website and at www.cilip.org.uk/amilliondecisions where further guidance will be available outlining how you can become actively involved.
2017 will be an exciting time for NHS library and knowledge services as we further progress the implementation of Knowledge for Healthcare and advocate for the expertise of the health library and knowledge workforce to be optimised.
As we rapidly approach a nadir on the Streamlining Group’s work at reviewing document delivery and supply we are gaining an integral understanding of what is a complex area. “Scratch the surface” or “opening a can of worms” are two phrases that have come to mind during the past few months, but recommendations for some key actions there will be. The potential is there to radically transform and streamline the way the NHS shares its knowledge, saves money and ultimately provides an ultra-efficient and equitable service to its end users.
The group is working towards the creation of a national policy on document supply by reviewing the existing regional policies and policies of other collaborative networks such as NULJ, PLCS and FIL (Forum for Interlending). There is a great deal of similarity amongst them, however we also need to be aware of where local practice may be “best practice” and incorporate this into our standards.
The contentious area of charging was raised in the previous blog posting from the group and elicited a number of comments. This is a difficult area to assess due to significant local variance and the reasons as to why a charge is in place. Close collaboration with other K4H workstream areas will be required to find a solution acceptable to everyone.
Nine years ago a business case was written, “NHS Interlending & Document Supply Services: Strategic Business Case”, but was never adopted as an action or a viable solution at the time. Many of the issues highlighted remain the same today and although we are not developing a new business case the group has taken on some of the recommendations from that document. A key part of the group’s work has been to scope out the practical and technical requirements of a document supply/interlending management system and this appears to have morphed into a beast of its own and there is hope that at a future date this may underpin document supply work within the NHS.
This work though is very much step-by-step and the group intends to deliver robust recommendations regarding document supply. As a first step the creation of a national union list of journals is core as this will make visible and increase accessibility to the journal resources owned by the NHS. Fundamental is the understanding that if a resource is purchased by the NHS, then it should be shared across NHS boundaries. This should reduce reliance upon external providers, often at cost, and will also in time allow for the creation of a national collection policy. At present we don’t know what we have!
What will be the impact upon regional schemes? Initially there should be minimal impact and the national union list will supplement membership of these schemes, however with the possible development of a national management system change will probably be required. Some regional schemes are already being transformed, amalgamated or have developed shared protocols. ULSERS will be no more soon and who knows what a new scheme may have as an acronym. It’s all NUTS to me anyhow….
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