Employers and Leaders

Introduction for employers

NHS knowledge and library specialists take the heavy lifting out of getting evidence into practice. As an employer you can benefit from working with a NHS knowledge and library service team.

Healthcare is a knowledge-based industry. Knowledge for Healthcare 2021-2026 sets the strategic direction for the development of NHS knowledge and library services. The priorities are to enable all NHS staff and learners to benefit equally from high-quality knowledge services, and to optimise the expertise of knowledge and library teams to inform decision making.

The Gift of Time,and independent health economic study, identified the key benefits that knowledge and library services deliver for the and, specifically, the specialist knowledge within NHS teams.

How can ICSs and ICB leaders get get the most from their knowledge and library services? For 9 steps you can take to ensure decisions are underpinned by evidence see our ‘at a glance’ interactive poster.

Cover of the Knowledge for Healthcare strategy Image a lightbulb

Our policies

We have a range of relevant polices which provide recommendations to guide the delivery of NHS Knowledge and Library Services.

We also provide indicative guidance for placement providers on funding local NHS Knowledge and Library Services in England.

Our senior team

The senior team guide policy and lead on delivery of the Knowledge for Healthcare strategy as well as supporting our team of experts in their field to drive the NHS Knowledge and Library Service from a national and regional base.

Quality improvement outcomes framework

The second edition of the ‘Quality and Improvement Outcomes Framework’ (Outcomes Framework), is part of the wider Quality Framework for NHS organisations in receipt of funding through the NHS Education Contract. It forms part of the requirement of Placement Provider organisations in receipt of funding through the NHS Education Contract to “ensure that there is a proactive, high-quality knowledge and library service that is available to all staff and learners” (‘NHS Education Contract’, 2021-24).

Knowledge mobilisation

Use the Knowledge Mobilisation Self-Assessment Tool and checklist to consider how you use knowledge as an asset and work with your health library and knowledge specialist to craft an action plan to maximise use of evidence from research, good practice and organisational knowledge to inform decisions.

Some knowledge is not published but is individual or organisational ‘know how’. The NHS Knowledge Mobilisation Framework is designed to help individuals to develop and use skills to mobilise knowledge effectively. The techniques will help you to learn before, during and after everything that you do, so that pitfalls can be avoided and best practice replicated. You can see a host of information on our Knowledge Mobilisation page including a set of quick reference cards is available to complement the framework.

Health and digital literacy

Did you know that 43% of adults aged 16-65 struggle with text-based health information and that increases to 61% if the information also includes numbers? If you want to know more, take this 35 minute e-learning course which includes simple tools that can help increase understanding.

For people with learning disabilities and autism, we have also co-produced two easy read guides to download. ‘Get ready to talk about your health’ prepares them for what to do before they go for a consultation with any health or care provider. ‘3 questions for better health’ suggests important questions to ask during an appointment.

For anyone working or studying in health and care, as well as for your patients, their families and carers, we have collected books and online links on general health and wellbeing – take a look at our Uplifting Resources and Your Health Collection.  The books are available to staff working a Trust via their health library, but most people will be able find the books in their local public library too.

If you work in planning and commissioning health care in your area you may be interested in our free, online geodata tool which gives you place-based information on health literacy by local authority area.

Find out more about our work to improve health and digital literacy in England.

Developing the knowledge and library service workforce

To ensure your organisation can respond effectively it is vital you develop your knowledge and library service team. The Knowledge for Healthcare Learning Academy offers a range of CILIP-accredited learning opportunities to facilitate the development of your knowledge and library services team, ensuring they are equipped to meet the knowledge and information needs of all NHS staff and learners.

To help your whole workforce keep up-to-date with the published literature help is on hand to develop information skills such as literature searching and critical appraisal.

Staff, trainees and students can use the literature searching e-learning modules to build confidence to search for published literature for articles and evidence relevant to work, study and research.There are seven modules suitable for novice searchers and those wishing to refresh their knowledge. To support healthcare professionals to develop invaluable critical appraisal skills, there is also an eight-module, elearning programme: Critically Appraising the Evidence Base

How do I get help from my health library

Your local NHS knowledge and library service can help you to make the most of these resources. They will often offer additional services including carrying out evidence searches and helping you to keep up-to-date. Visit your library for space to study, work and connect with your peers and the evidence. 

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