The NHS requires proactive knowledge services as business-critical instruments of informed decision-making. Currently there is significant variation in the ratio of qualified librarians and knowledge specialists to healthcare staff, leading to inequitable service provision across England. This means that the Service is not uniformly able to draw on evidence for #MillionDecisions. The introduction of a recommended staff ratio is a key action by Health Education England to enable individual organisations to identify and address that risk.
For the first time this policy, agreed by the Health Education England Executive in November 2019, provides a set of recommendations from which trusts and arm’s length bodies may look to ensure, and where necessary continuously build, improved staffing levels.
1. To optimise the benefits for the NHS of the emerging new roles for librarians and knowledge specialists, HEE recommends that all NHS organisations:
- (i) review regular reports of the positive impact of the library and knowledge service on outcomes
- (ii) work with the local library service manager to prioritise allocation of clinical librarian, knowledge manager and other embedded roles to specialities
- (iii) take incremental steps to improve the staff ratio between qualified librarians and knowledge managers per member of the NHS workforce, through role redesign and by expanding this specialist workforce
2. HEE recommends that over time, all NHS organisations aspire to achieving a much-improved staffing ratio
3. HEE recommends that those NHS organisations with a staffing ratio in the region of the current average of 1 qualified librarian to 1,730 or more healthcare staff, strive to achieve a ratio of at least 1 qualified librarian or knowledge specialist per 1,250 WTE NHS staff.
4. HEE commits to monitoring the staff ratios annually and to reviewing the recommended ratio in three years’ time.
Organisations are invited to contact their local HEE Library and Knowledge service lead for support in progressing these recommendations.
Sue Lacey Bryant
National Lead for NHS Library and Knowledge Services
To be able to deliver the Knowledge for Healthcare Framework, we need an effective knowledge service workforce. As part of the framework document, the following promise was made “we will establish … a competency framework that defines core and specialist competencies …” Cue a Competencies TAF
We first met at CILIP HQ at the end of August to look at CILIP’s existing document called the Professional Knowledge and Skills Base (PKSB); a familiar document to anyone following Chartership. As CILIP had already put a great deal of thought and effort into producing the PKSB, we were delighted to be able to use this as our starting point. The original, CILIP version is applicable to professionals working in any sector, so we concentrated our efforts in customising it to specifically reflect the work of healthcare information professionals. We have since spent 15 hours of teleconferencing working out way through the document line by line and adapting it to suit the Knowledge for Healthcare Framework. I won’t mention the hours of preparation we undertook before each meeting.
So how are we defining competencies? There are many definitions out there. This link will give you a good overview of the topic. At the moment we are working on the following definition but it is still being hotly debated as we learn more about this area.
Competency is defined as the expected level of performance that integrates knowledge (cognitive), skills (functional) and attitudes (behavioural)
From this definition we have the knowledge and skills already aligned to healthcare and are now beginning to think about the attitudes that will need to be assimilated into the this framework. Our next set of teleconferences are booked and our Healthcare PKSB is out for consultation with the reference group and you, dear reader, if you would like to help us. We are looking forward to delivering the competency framework in the Spring of 2016.
This stage has been about professional staff, so the next TAF will be looking at an equivalent for paraprofessionals. There will be a call for new members in the Spring so do think about it.
If you have any questions or good ideas, please do email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Members of the Group
- Lesley Allen – Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust
- Lorna Burns – Public Health England
- Alison Day – Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Valerie Haigh – Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust
- Mary Hill (Chair) – The Christie NHS Foundation Trust
- Madeleine Still – North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust