New National Health Literacy Community of Pratice Lauches Monday 18th October 2021

Published on 19 October 2021, by Catherine McLaren

Groups and communities of practice, Health literacy

Lauch of a national community of pratice for NHS Knowledge and Library staff in England.

It’s #HealthLiteracyMonth – a worldwide event which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

Knowledge and Library Services (KLS) in the healthcare sector know how crucial good Health Literacy skills are for underpinning patient decision-making and co-creation of care. These skills enable the public (inclusive of all gender, cultural and intellectual backgrounds and abilities) to access and process information in a way which allows them to take ownership of their long-term health and wellbeing.

Previous Health Literacy communities of practice in the north and south successfully allowed for the sharing of knowledge and abilities amongst KLS colleagues to support skills training for staff and students, and subsequently outwards to the public and health information colleagues in other sectors.

Today we are building on this by launching one national cohesive community of practice.  

Meet the Chair and Vicechairs, discover the value of the group for them, what they bring to it, and what they hope we will achieve together:


Siobhan Linsey – Chair

Health Literacy is a professional passion of mine. I have been actively involved in this work-stream from 2018 by designing and delivering training to students, volunteers, public library colleagues, and healthcare staff groups at all levels, plus sharing learning at conferences.

Supporting skills in this area is a rewarding aspect of my job, and collaborating with and learning from others is key to maximising successes and achieving the widespread impact that this work will have. I look forward to learning what has worked well across the country - even small successes can be inspiring and give me confidence to try things out. There’s great value in sharing innovations and exploring ideas, so I’m hoping many of you will come on board and encourage others to do likewise.

Lorna Dawson – Vicechair North

I’ve delivered Health Literacy Awareness training virtually on a monthly basis for a year so am bringing that experience to the group. I feel like I can share almost every way Teams will try to foil your training session so you know what to expect in advance! I’ve been very lucky to be able to test-run my slides within my own team but not everyone has that luxury so I’m also bringing the offer of a friendly first audience and critical friend to anyone who needs it.

My vision for the group is that it will be a safe space that helps people’s confidence to grow, and that it will be a hub of ideas for delivering health literacy training. Personally, I’m hoping to benefit from people’s experience delivering the training ‘in the real world’ as I’ve not done that yet!

Lynsey Southern – Vicechair South

Southern – Vicechair South When I started looking at health literacy back in 2019 it felt big, and at times overwhelming, so many questions ran through my mind when I first began looking to implement sessions into my setting, amongst them how to get the message heard, but more importantly actioned and embedded.

This is why I became a part of the new national Health Literacy community of practice (COP) – I want to be a part of a national community where everyone is included, enabled, confident and empowered. To find our collective voices, armed with evidence and facts to improve outcomes for patients. But to know that we are there to support one another and that when you speak about the importance of health literacy, there is a whole community behind you.

Health Literacy activism can take many forms, from sharing social media posts to standing up and sharing the impacts of poor health literacy with senior stakeholders. All have impact. All are valid forms of educating our teams, delivering within our means and capabilities.

There is incredible work already taking place across the country, and through our national COP I want us to acknowledge, celebrate and share existing best practice, share our successes and give those of us that are starting out on the Health Literacy journey the tools, skills and knowledge to confidently step forward and start that conversation.


Network with others in your profession and support this key information life skill for patient and public long-term health and wellbeing.

Join us: First virtual meeting 9th November 2021 – booking link will be emailed out nationally.

Share your thoughts: How do you feel about delivering health literacy or promoting it? By answering our anonymous 3 question poll you can help shape the support that the Health Literacy Community of Practice provides. 

Find out more:

Email Group: [email protected]


Twitter: @HealthLitKLS #HealthLitKLS

Contact us:

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]




Posted on