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Contact ♦ Help ♦ Advice ♦ Information ♦ Network. CHAIN . Linking researchers, practitioners, educators, managers and policymakers. David Evans, Wendy Zhou, Natasha Godfrey & Irina Johnston. Feedback from CHAIN members:

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Contact ♦ Help ♦ Advice ♦ Information ♦ Network


Linking researchers, practitioners, educators, managers and policymakers

David Evans, Wendy Zhou, Natasha Godfrey & Irina Johnston

  • Feedback from CHAIN members:
  • What a diverse group we are: professionals (from) trusts and educational institutions all accessing information provided by CHAIN; this is probably unique… an excellent example of remote/IT-friendly, multi-professional team working and sharing of best practice.
  • Wendy White, Assistant Director of Learning and Development, East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust
  • CHAIN has been helpful to us both in finding examples of how other units operate – e.g. people contacted with their examples of multi-disciplinary documentation – and in seeing other people’ queries and thus their areas of interest and concern
  • Charlotte Painter, Stroke co-ordinator, Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • I greatly value the contribution CHAIN makes to my personal and organizational practice. It keeps me in touch… and is a forum to share good practice and innovative thinking.
  • Jean Foster, Chair, Counsellors and psychotherapists in Primary Care
  • The huge advantage of CHAIN is that it works! When my email tells me I have a message from CHAIN, I know it will be relevant to me.Joan Fletcher, Clinical Effectiveness Facilitator, Edenhall Hospital
  • In my brief time as a member, it has brought to my attention numerous opportunities for research, employment, funding and personal development. I think it is an important and developing resource in the NHS and academic community.Martyn Barnes, Research Fellow, Dundee University



CHAIN has been externally evaluated 3 times, on each occasion demonstrating its value and popularity. The 1st evaluation, by researchers from University College London, was published (BMJ 2004:328:1174-8). The 2nd and 3rd evaluations resulted in internal reports for stakeholders. All 3 are available on the CHAIN homepage

CHAIN has expanded both in terms of the number of members and the breadth of focus, and now has members across the UK, Canada, Australia, the Republic of Ireland, Scandinavia, Italy, Spain and 40 other countries worldwide.

CHAIN (Contact, Help, Advice and Information Network) was established more than a decade ago to enable people in health & social care to exchange ideas and knowledge; to support getting research evidence into practice; and to facilitate those who have common interests or complementary aspirations. CHAIN now has over 12,000 members from UK and beyond. It is a free and voluntary mutual support network.

Membership of CHAIN is open to all who work in health & social care. Uniquely CHAIN includes front-line professionals, educators, researchers, managers and information specialists.

Increase in CHAIN membership over the past few years

Primary Functions of CHAIN

  • 1. To provide searchable online directories of contacts
  • Locate and contact people for:
  • Help
  • Advice
  • Information
  • Collaboration
  • To target and disseminate information and members’ questions via e-mail
  • Members can ask the facilitator to send out a request for information
  • Facilitator can disseminate (information is targeted):
  • Online directory is password protected

CHAIN also includes sub-groups which enable members to focus on areas of common interest.


Two snapshots of CHAIN illustrating the diverse interests and multiprofessional nature of the CHAIN membership

CHAIN is a successful non-hierarchical network of volunteer collaborators. It is funded by a consortium of 9 supporters including the National Institute for Health Research, and Macmillan Cancer Support. In Scotland, CHAIN is sponsored by the Scottish Government Health Directorates, the Scottish School of Primary Care, and NHS Grampian. In Ireland CHAIN is sponsored by the Institute of Public Health in Ireland and the Health Service Executive (Republic of Ireland). Sister networks exist in Italy, Spain, Canada, Australia and Scandinavia, forming an international pool of tacit knowledge and mutual support for health care professionals.

  • CHAIN ensures that members only receive messages of real interest to them


Usually individuals’ support networks include other colleagues in the red circle, perhaps extending to other professionals in the orange zone. CHAIN makes people in the red and green zone even more accessible and, critically enables members to tap into the wealth of knowledge and experience which lies in the orange area

The breadth of insight and experience among CHAIN members is considerable. The flexibility and precision of CHAIN’s targeting tool enables effective ‘mining’ of this tacit knowledge.

Contact information

For more information contact CHAIN

[email protected]

Joining CHAIN is free. The only criteria for joining are: an interest in the subject & being willing to share information & experience

To join, please complete the online registration form at:

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