Tag Archives: Public Health England

5 Top Tips to Reach Public Health Teams

Positively promoting health and wellbeing and preventing ill health has arguably never been more important. Responsibility for local public health services rests with local authorities. Public health professionals face a complex task. They work in locally specific, politically sensitive and financially constrained contexts.

Evidence from research and learning from best practice are key to their success in influencing decision-making. Yet, the fact is that some 40% of local authority public health teams do not currently have access to healthcare library and knowledge services.

Where information professionals have been able to apply their skills they find it rewarding work, and quickly prove their value.

“Public health staff are keen, appreciative and great ambassadors for our service. Sometimes they search themselves, sometimes they ask us – searches can be complex but have given us the opportunity to stretch develop our knowledge and skills.”

Anne Lancey, Library Service Manager, Isle of Wight NHS Trust

We don’t underestimate the challenge of reaching public health teams – but that 40% gap represents a real risk for them and an opportunity for NHS library and knowledge services to make a significant contribution. What can you do?

1 – Benefit from the experience of colleagues

We’ve drawn on the experience of the knowledge specialists and library teams already supporting public health to create a public health toolkit for NHS librarians who want to reach out to public health. It will also be useful for those looking to further develop their service offer. The Toolkit covers the basics – like ‘What do public health staff do?’. Critically it also covers the nitty-gritty – practicalities such as service specifications and charging models.

‘I’m fairly new to the NHS, so found the networking/best practice support sections of the toolkit most useful. That said the SLA elements will be very helpful when it comes to renewing our agreements in 2018”.

William Henderson, Assistant Librarian, Luton and Dunstable Hospital NHS Foundation Trust:

2 – Join lis-publichealth

Join the growing community of information professionals who support public health and/or want to share ideas and learn from those who do. Sign up here.

3 – Connect with Public Health England librarians and knowledge specialists

Are you linked with the PHE knowledge and library specialists in your area? They don’t provide direct services to local authorities – hence the opportunity for enterprising NHS librarians. However, they can support NHS librarians by producing guides, sharing tips, coordinating networks and helping you to make contacts.

4 – Come to the PHE study day on Wednesday 15 November in London

NHS librarians supporting, or aspiring to support, local authority public health staff are warmly invited to attend the PHE knowledge team’s annual study day in London. There’ll be speakers from PHE, NICE, NIHR and CHAIN. It’ll be a great opportunity to network, learn and debate. Watch out for details on lis-publichealth.

5 –Be ready to seize fresh opportunities to make an impact and to strengthen your business

Local authority public health staff now have access to the 1,300 plus full-text journals funded by PHE, as well as the core content titles purchased by the NHS, via a new bespoke discovery portal. PHE knowledge staff will promote the portal, and this is a perfect opportunity for NHS library managers to step in with the offer to provide value-added knowledge support services to local authority staff.

Helen Bingham, Head of Knowledge Services and TEL, HEE (South) & Wendy Marsh, Senior Knowledge & Evidence Manager, PHE


Public Health “toolkit”

This resource has been compiled to help NHS-funded library and knowledge services (LKS) seeking to provide services and support to public health staff based in local authority teams.

The Health and Social Care Act 2012 transferred statutory responsibility for provision of local public health services from the NHS to local authorities.  Every County Council, Unitary Authority and London Borough has a Director of Public Health (DPH) and their staff are local government employees.  A list of DPH’s and local authorities with public health responsibilities is here.

In February 2017, an estimated 10% of these teams were supported by in-house information professionals, whilst 36% had funded SLAs with NHS LKS for professional support, but over 40% did not, as far as we are aware, have any arrangement in place.

Contents include:

What do local public health staff do?

When might local public health practitioners need access to evidence?

What evidence might local public health practitioners require?

What is the relationship between local public health teams, CCGs and STPs?

What is the role of the Public Health England Knowledge and Library Service team?

How can PHE KLS support NHS LKS?

The lis-publichealth mailing list

What is available to local public health staff without charge?

Sample service specification

Options for service delivery

Charging for services

Further information:

Please contact:

Wendy Marsh, Public Health England  Wendy.Marsh@phe.gov.uk

Helen Bingham, Health Education England South helen.bingham@hee.nhs.uk

Reaching the wider workforce

Some of you will recall that a ‘Wider Workforce’ Task and Finish Group was set up last year, and may have wondered what came out of it!

The group’s report is now available at http://kfh.libraryservices.nhs.uk/taf-reports/.

Its headline findings are that 60% of Local Authority-based public health teams and 40% of CCGs have access to LKS. The group has uncovered some great examples of services specifically tailored to the needs of public health practitioners and commissioners – but evidence elsewhere that the traditional LKS offer isn’t hitting the mark.

Disappointingly, only 40% of ambulance Trusts have arrangements in place for access to LKS, though where these exist, they are highly valued. Whilst HEE staff in national and local offices have arrangements for access to LKS, this is not the case for the national, regional and local teams of NHS England staff, and only one Academic Health Science Network has a formal arrangement for access to NHS LKS.

This group’s work suggests that the best way to meet the needs of ‘wider workforce’ organisations will be to coordinate efforts and work collaboratively, at national, geography or STP level, to design and offer tailored services.  This tailoring is crucial; merely offering training, mediated literature searching, ILLs and loans doesn’t excite commissioners or public health staff.   Short service specifications were devised by the group to guide service design.  The group’s work has also highlighted the need for CPD to equip LKS staff with knowledge and skills to support commissioners, service planners and public health staff.

So what next?

The librarians currently providing services to ambulance Trusts recently collaborated in a review of LKS for the paramedic workforce, using the Knowledge for Healthcare design criteria to consider which functions/activities are best done once, which necessarily delivered locally, and opportunities for economies of scale in between.

Having engaged with Clinical Senates nationally, it has been decided the best approach there will be to start by working with one Senate to develop a model which could be replicated elsewhere. And we are also resuming conversations with Public Health England and with librarians who specialise in services to commissioners, to address the gaps in these areas.

If your passion is adapting and tailoring your services to harder-to-reach groups , do get in touch!

Helen Bingham (HEE – South) and Mike Roddham (West Sussex Knowledge & Libraries