NHS Library and Knowledge Services in England

Health Education England (HEE) has published a new policy on NHS Library and Knowledge Services in England.

Impact on library policy/practice: The policy urges NHS organisations to capitalise on the specialist skills of librarians not only in education and research, but also as ‘knowledge brokers’, a role in which librarians share their expertise with teams in the workplace, enabling staff to find, evaluate and use evidence.  There are many examples from across the country where library and knowledge services are embedded in health care teams and enhancing service delivery, enabling transformation and driving innovation.

The policy also signals a move towards developing a “coherent national service”, highlighting a desire to work more collaboratively and across health care systems to reduce duplication and ensure that library and knowledge services are freely accessible to all NHS staff.

Library and knowledge service staff may wish to highlight this new policy to executive teams and senior managers in their organisations.

Source: Health Education England (HEE)

Link to main document 

Publication format: PDF

Date of publication: January 2017

Summary of driver: Applying and embedding knowledge into action is the currency of successful organisations.  HEE recognises the value of NHS librarians to act as knowledge brokers, enabling staff to find, evaluate and use evidence.

Key features of driver:

·         The policy asserts the duty under Health and Social Care Act 2012 to ensure “the use in the health service of evidence obtained from research”. It acknowledges the role of NHS libraries in supplying the evidence base to enhance decision-making relating to treatment options, patient care and safety, commissioning and policy, as well as to support lifelong learning, undertake research and drive innovation.

·         The policy statement sets out key points to ensure the use in health care of evidence gained from research and HEE commitment to:

o   Enable all NHS staff to freely access library and knowledge services so that they can use the right knowledge and evidence to achieve excellent healthcare and health improvement;

o   Invest in NHS librarians and knowledge specialists to use their expertise to mobilise evidence obtained from research and organisational knowledge to underpin decision-making in the NHS in England;

o   Develop 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.

Primary audience: All NHS England organisations, particularly Executives and senior managers

Date last updated:  January 2017

Due for review: 11.1.18

Group member responsible: VT

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