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Patient/Public Information and Health Libraries. Sarah Greening Health Information Co-ordinator , NHS West Midlands s Twitter: @ equipNHS. Housekeeping. Fire alarm Toilets Tea / coffee Lunch at 12 Close at 2.45-3pm. Background.

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Patient public information and health libraries

Patient/Public Information and Health Libraries

Sarah Greening

Health Information Co-ordinator , NHS West Midlands

Twitter: @equipNHS


  • Fire alarm

  • Toilets

  • Tea / coffee

  • Lunch at 12

  • Close at 2.45-3pm


  • Health Information Co-ordinator, Strategic Health Authority - NHS West Midlands

  • Improve access to quality health information

  • EQUIP website now on

    • Accredited links to online health info

    • Directory of 4000+ support groups and services

    • Awareness events calendar

  • Health Information Week

  • PiF Regional Co-ordinator


Recent policy relating to the provision of health information to patients and the general public dates:

  • “Patients will be helped to navigate the maze of health information through the development of NHS Direct Online, digital TV and NHS Direct information points in public places” (NHS Plan, July 2000).

  • The public should receive guidance on those sources of information about health and healthcare on the Internet which are reliable and of good quality” (Kennedy Report, July 2001)

  • “For high-quality information to be made widely available to the public, it is essential that service providers are supported, not just in terms of having access to information but also in ensuring that this access is resource efficient. (Better Information, Better Choices, Better Health, December 2004)

  • "A Patient -Led NHS" in July 2005 refers to the ‘high quality information and support’ patients need" to help patients make decisions that are right for them".

  • Our health, our care, our say: a new direction for community services – published by the Department of Health in January 2006. This White Paper made a commitment to improving access to appropriate information for people with health or social care needs.

  • The NHS Constitution (January 2009). It brings together the rights, pledges and responsibilities for staff and patients, including the right to make choices about NHS care and to receive information to support these choices.

  • Liberating the NHS: An Information Revolution (DH, 2010) - Health information must be provided to patients in a range of formats with different levels of detail to cater for their varying needs.

Lqaf returns
LQAF Returns


“The library/knowledge services are developed to support information provision for the patient and/or the public.”

LQAF Returns West Midlands data:

Lqaf guidance on 5 3l
LQAF Guidance on 5.3l

See 5.3f For enquiry and referral services e.g. Signposting patients and/or the public to more appropriate information providers.

Suggested admissible evidenceEvidence of partnership working with the public library service. Links to Health Promotion Services. Links to PALS. Examples of specific services provided. Relevant sections from library/knowledge service strategy and/or implementation plan. Consumer Health Information strategy.

Guidance on full compliance Clear up to date information about information services for the patient and/or public is available and promoted ANDlibrary/knowledge staff are able to support enquirers.

Guidance on partial compliance A library/knowledge based service exists for patients and/or the public but is not widely promoted.

Guidance on non‐compliance The library/knowledge service is required to provide services but there is no evidence to suggest services are provided.

Additional tips, tools, templates or referencesReference: Brettle, A., Ormandy, P. (2008) Do NHS libraries have a role in providing information to patients, carers and the public? University of Salford. Website:

Shall chi survey oct 2010
SHALL CHI Survey Oct 2010

West Midlands results:

24 NHS library managers responded:

  • 70.8% Yes to “Supporting clinicians in the provision of patient information”

  • 62.5% had interaction with public info providers eg: Public libraries, PALS, Trust pat info centre, health trainers

  • 67% perform 1 or more public info activity eg: BOP, Inspire, Info Prescriptions, support health campaigns

  • 50% members of Inspire (22 WM health libs are in Inspire)

  • 50% had reference access to members of public

  • Most comments suggested that you would like to participate more but would like ideas and help, especially with working with public libraries.


62.5% want training and you want it on:

  • Looking at issues around giving information rather than advice

  • What sort of information we should be providing and at what level?

  • Information on signposting to organisations that can give advice

  • Any legal issues surrounding the information provided

  • Looking at how to deal with, give service to patients/members of the public

Public libraries
Public Libraries

  • Public libraries are clear about their role in signposting the public to quality resources whilst not providing medical advice or guidance.

  • Public library staff have customer service and enquiry skills to help the public find information but would value more specialised training from NHS Librariansand NHS librarians would value customer service skills.

    A case for joint training / job shadowing

Patient public information and health libraries

Overcoming the Barriers – David Chamberlain, WorcestershireWorking with your Patient Information Centre – Christine McRoy & Deborah Adams, Birmingham Children’s Hospital