Knowledge @lerts for NHS Central Lancashire

Title of project: Knowledge @lerts for Central Lancashire PCT [CLPCT]

Project Team: Sarah Ramsbottom [SR] (PCT Liaison Librarian); Jeanine Fielding (Operational Library Manager),
Library & Information Service, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Resources Required: No additional costs. Librarian’s time & skills: search skills; wordprocessing; emailing. Technology: computer based programmes, eg. Wordperfect, Outlook email.

Timeframe: August 2010 – March 2011

“The Story”: As part of the delivery of services to CLPCT it was decided to develop a series of highly specific Knowledge @lerts targeted at various groups within CLPCT, eg. School nurses, podiatrists, dentists. This decision was reached after analysing responses to the “Central Lancashire PCT Library Information Needs Survey”, (September 2008), but actual action had to wait until the appointment of an additional assistant librarian, part of whose role was to act as the PCT liaison librarian.
The @lerts were designed to deliver subject specific information (eg. new books in the library, new guidance issued, recent articles) in an attractive, easily read format, direct to PCT staff via email.
SR was to provide the @lerts on a quarterly basis to different target groups within the PCT. Names of staff within the groups were identified via a variety of means, eg. Outlook Address Book; PCT lead contacts providing names of others within their department.
It was envisaged the initial template set up and composition of the first edition in each subject area would occupy around 80 hours work. Thereafter, each quarter, approximately 20 hours was to be spent developing each succeeding series of issues.

Alignment to local, regional and national drivers:
Library service objectives:
1. Expand range of value added services offered to PCT staff
2. Increase use of LTH Library Service by PCT staff
(Both of these are part of the PCT clause contained within the Library Objectives section of the Library Business Plan.)

Impact of this project/service for the:
Project aims were:
For PCT Staff: Provide CLPCT provider staff with work specific information they might not have otherwise known about, eg. alert them to new NICE guidance covering their area.
For PCT: Better informed staff delivering the right intervention at the right time to the local population.
For LTH Library: Encourage use of the Library by PCT employees, helping to
demonstrate the value of the Library service (and therefore the cost benefit of the contract) to PCT management.
Evaluation to demonstrate impact: The PCT Knowledge @lert service only commenced in August 2010, (to date only 4 issues in each subject area have been distributed) and it was planned to undertake an evaluation at the 12 month mark.
Nb. This evaluation will not go ahead, as with the gradual dissolution of the PCT, the contract for delivery of library services has not been renewed.
Although formal evaluation will not take place, there has been substantial informal feedback and observation to show that the @lerts have been appreciated by PCT staff.
A condensed and relevant information source was highly valued by those staff receiving the @lerts. This was evidenced by:
~ the large range of (unsolicited) positive feedback obtained from staff receiving the @lerts, for example:
“The awareness bulletin you have done for the OTs is fantastic”
“Please would you send me the physiotherapy quarterly bulletin to my home address as I work on a bank contract and don’t want to miss any!”
“Please please keep sending it, that’s great. May have a few more to add to your list, can I forward email to other colleagues? ”
What a great bulletin! I’d like to keep receiving them please! As a fairly new member of staff you’ve just answered about 5 of my questions at once, I’ve signed up for my Athens password as well!”
~ the number of PCT staff sent an @lert, who then registered to use the Library Service
“Thanks very much it’s a huge help – what is the procedure for borrowing the two books from the library?”
~ the number of follow ups from PCT staff resulting from items mentioned in the @lerts (for book loans, article copies, more information about guidance etc.,)
“Thank you so much for the articles (from Practice Nurse Bulletin – issue 2). They are really useful for me as I am undertaking the Nurse Prescribing course at present”
“Thanks for the bulletin it’s very helpful. Please could you e-mail me the following articles” (4 articles were then requested). Also could you do a literature search for me if possible on the Cognitive Orientation to Occupational Performance (or CO-OP) approach.”
~ the number of PCT staff who were not on the original lists to receive the @lerts, but who asked to be placed on the email groups, after having read an @lert forwarded to them by a colleague.
“Hi Sarah, please could I receive this quarterly bulletin. Thanks.”

Lessons Learned: SR did not require any training to produce the @lerts, as she used her existing skills to do the database and internet searching, word processing, and emailing.
The most difficult aspect of the service was trying to identify possible PCT staff within each target group via the Outlook email system.
Uptake of the @lerts was greater than anticipated. Those on the initial email list forwarded copies to colleagues and as a result we received requests from many PCT staff to be added to the distribution lists. We also had requests to produce @lerts in other subject areas, which was done.

Sustainability / next steps? The most disappointing aspect is that due to the recent re-organisation of NHS services, the LTH Library Service will no longer be serving CLPCT provider staff. This means the service will cease as of 31st March 2011 and provider staff within the PCT will no longer receive the Knowledge @lerts.

Contact details: Jeanine Fielding

Date case study completed: 27th May 2011

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