NHS England Research Plan

Impact on library policy/practice:

Library and Knowledge Services are specifically mentioned in the Research Plan. Firstly, NHS England will work in a supporting role with NHS LKS in the development of communities of practice and enabling the translation of evidence into practice (p. 17).

Secondly, NHS England will work with HEE to support NHS LKS to ensure best evidence underpins research, and that researchers can freely access LKS, including training in advanced search and information handling skills (p. 17).

Information skills training is something that NHS libraries are already offering, though it may be necessary to promote our ability to provide more advanced training to researchers, or to review what other training we can offer to researchers. Whilst researchers in many NHS trusts will have access to LKS, there may be other organisations such as CCGs where there is limited access, and it may be necessary to put an SLA in place; this driver could be used as an argument that organisations need to ensure their researchers have access to libraries and the necessary information skills training.

The development of communities of practice is a new area for libraries, especially across organisational boundaries, but there are initiatives such as the KnowledgeShare service that are already enabling this where organisations subscribe, and NHS Education for Scotland have national systems in place such as People Connect. At a local level, there is an example in the KfH Knowledge Management Toolkit of the development of communities of practice using the Intranet within Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust. Part of our role may also be to signpost to existing communities of practice.

There may also be a role for libraries as part of the PPI agenda to promote recruitment into local research, and the Research Plan specifically mentions improving public access to research opportunities and recruitment (p. 15).

There are some more ideas on how libraries can support research on a blog post on the KfH blog.

Overall, this document makes clear the importance of research and its use in the NHS and could be used by NHS LKS to push to be more fully involved in the research agenda in the NHS.

Source: NHS England

Link to main document

Publication format: PDF

Date of publication: April 2017

Summary of driver:

NHS England is mandated by the Department of Health to promote and support research in NHS organisations, whether funded commercially or non-commercially. This plan sets out NHS England’s strategic approach to research and how it links with work across Government, including the Industrial Strategy.

It recognises that research is vital to provide the evidence to transform care and improve outcomes.

There are three main areas of focus:

  • Driving the direction of research by ensuring commissioned research addresses the needs of the NHS. Part of this will include defining what research is needed. A Research Needs Panel has already been created.
  • Contributing to creating an environment that fosters research and innovation by supporting commissioners, CSUs, AHSNs, and national programmes to facilitate research in the NHS. It will also include supporting the recruitment of patients into trials, and the allocation of funding for Genomic Medicine Centres.
  • Supporting the use of evidence in decision making, and translating research into practice by using a range of ways to share good practice such as partnership working, networks and guidance. A ‘research and use of evidence self-assessment’ tool for CCGs has already been produced.

Key features of driver:

The document lists all of the partners that NHS England will work with to promote and support research, and in some cases gives a brief description of the role they play in research.

A part of the strategy is to develop the genomic medicines service, with the aim of sequencing 100,000 human genomes by the end of 2018, and developing a genomic medicine laboratory infrastructure. Initially the focus is on cancers and rare inherited diseases.

There will be work to promote patient and public participation in research, such as recruitment to clinical trials, by contributing to NHS Choices and the UK Clinical Trials Gateway.

Primary audience: Chief executives and accountable officers of NHS organisations, national bodies with an interest in healthcare research, higher education institutions.

Date last updated: July 2017

Due for review: July 2018

Group member responsible: JC

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