Using Clinical Librarians to support evidence-based, cost effective purchasing decisions

Project Team

Tissue Viability Nurse (TVN) Consultant and Specialist Tissue Viability nurses (acute & community) – to review/report on products & evidence and make final decisions.
Purchasing Manager –  supplier/clinician liaison and costings & data provision and analysis.
Assistant Clinical Librarian (CL) – to conduct literature searches.

Resources Required

Library resources: Assistant CL time (34.5 hours to complete 54 literature searches over a 2 month period)


Approx. 6 months from initial meeting to completion of review by TVN team.

“The Story”

The Tissue Viability Nurse Consultant and her team were due to undertake a review of the Wound Care Formulary Review used across the acute and community setting. Having been a frequent user of the CL, the nurse consultant requested CL input to as wanted to ensure that decisions regarding dressing choice were made on a comprehensive assessment of each product (incorporating the available evidence base, cost and availability, staff and patient-reported experience and outcomes).

Assistant CL attended meetings with an iPad to provide quick access to the evidence base for the dressings being evaluated by the group. Subsequent in-depth literature searches were undertaken to ensure a comprehensive evaluation of dressing types as well as specific products. Results were then disseminated across the group.

Meetings took place over the summer of 2013 and 54 searches were undertaken to provide the required evidence.

The project was completed and the new formulary was disseminated amongst the project team in January 2014.

Alignment to local, regional and national drivers

Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust Quality Strategy 2013 – 2018: “to provide the very best care to each patient on every occasion”

National Audit Office: The procurement of consumables by NHS acute and Foundation trusts (Feb 2011) “In the new NHS of constrained budgets, trust chief executives should consider procurement as a strategic priority”

NMC The Code: Standards of conduct, performance and ethics for nurses and midwives “Provide a high standard of practice and care at all times”

Impact of this project/service

TVN team now have a centrally-held repository of evidence relating to their specialist area with arrangements in place for regular updates from CLS.

Timely delivery of new wound care formulary.

Projected cost savings of £50,000 per annum for the lifetime of the formulary (3 years) achieved whilst quality maintained across the organisation.

Increased awareness and actual use of the CL and library service as a whole.

Lessons Learned

Opportunity for ongoing CL input valued by team.

CL able to refine current evidence & knowledge alerts to better suit the information needs of this user group.

Sustainability / next steps?

This project will be the subject of an article in the Trust magazine which will support the marketing of this project to other clinical and care teams trust wide.

This collaboration is to be included in promotional brochure for Learning & Organisation Development department.

Continued collaboration with this clinical team, resulting in actual increased uptake of library services to support the TVN team in both clinical and professional development (e.g. writing for publication, undertaking accredited study and conference presentations).

Anticipated CL involvement in subsequent formulary reviews.

Contact details

Jo Whitcombe,
Assistant Clinical Librarian
Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust
0161 627 8462/

Date case study completed:  January 2014.


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