This blog piece discusses how 5 Knowledge and Library Services collaborated together to place a bid for recent Health Education England funding.

The bid background

In August 2020, Health Education England had some non-recurrent funding available for library and knowledge services developments in England in the 2020 - 2021 financial year.  The focus for the funding was supporting LKS services that support the move towards “place-based” systems of care by advancing “place-based” library services where partners work together to ensure that all staff and learners in a locality benefit from a coherent service offer, including those who are currently less well served.  Bids for up to £25,000 were welcomed and each proposal was judged against a selection criteria.

The Surrey Heartlands proposal

In the Surrey area, we the Library and Knowledge Services Managers Potenza Atiogbe (Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust), Rachel Cooke (Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust) and Alison Paul (Ashford & St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) and Vicki Veness (Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust) discussed putting together a proposal for the Surrey Heartlands community non-medical staff (e.g. nurses and allied health professionals) working in the Surrey Downs area (Surrey Downs Healthcare), Guildford and Waverley, Northwest Surrey and East Surrey. Suzy Thompson (Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust) joined in with the proposal later when it was established that some of the users in the Surrey Heartlands Integrated Care System (ICS) work in the Frimley area.  The Lead for the project was Potenza Atiogbe.

Stakeholder engagement

We approached a number of stakeholders including the Director of Nursing and Quality (Sutton Health and Care and Surrey Downs Health and Care), Learning Environment Lead and the Head of Learning and Development, Skills Design and Organisational Development (Central Surrey Health), staff coordinating events for the Primary Care Networks (PCNs) for Surrey Downs and staff from the Surrey Training Hub to help to shape the proposal.

Our conclusions

From the stakeholder discussions we established the following:

  • There was a need for a more joined up library service approach for Surrey Heartlands.  We did not have a clear idea of the exact number and the nature of the literature searches that are being conducted for Surrey Heartlands staff.
  • Surrey Heartlands staff are involved in transformative work on a regular basis but staff do not fully realise that their work is innovative and should be shared with others not only within the organisation and partner organisations but further afield. There appears to be a lot of silo working still taking place within the organisation. 
  • Community staff need a basic understanding of what research is from a library support perspective, the different types of research papers and how to get published. They also needed access to a relevant statistical package and training support.
  • Community staff need support to encourage more research in the community, more publications (all types e.g. posters, internal publications, peer reviewed publications, and websites including the Academy of Fabulous NHS Stuff), increased business cases and quality improvement projects.  All of these require the appropriate evidence base and a degree of knowledge mobilisation.
  • There is a gap in knowledge about the library resources, services and support available to enable evidence based practice for both PCN and community staff.  Therefore there was a need to actively promote and highlight the library services and training. Community staff have access to MS Teams and use it for other training sessions.
  • The PCNs need to understand the value of the 10 new roles in primary care.  They would appreciate case studies from other organisations which demonstrate the value of these new roles.

The proposal

We put together a bid of £25,000 for the following:

  • Funding embedded librarians for two days a week for six months.  Two members of part-time staff – Olwen Revill (Ashford & St Peter’s Hospitals) and Kerry Seelhoff (Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals) agreed to work an additional day each to lead on the project together and deliver bite sized training sessions via MS Teams.
  • Funding a software development for KnowledgeShare to facilitate adequate tracking and sharing of Surrey Heartlands literature searches.
  • Developing a virtual community of practice and innovation (COPi) focused on library support for quality improvement with a paid facilitator. 
  • Funding a bespoke research workshop for the open source statistical package JASP which is similar to IBM’s Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS).

Achievements and changes to the original proposal

The infographic below demonstrates the key outcomes of the project. More details about the achievements of the project are discussed in other related articles.

The embedded librarians worked for nine months as opposed to six months due to some areas of the project costing less than already anticipated.  The virtual COPi was facilitated by Potenza Atiogbe and Marisa Martinez Ortiz (Technology Enhanced Learning Lead and Deputy Head of Library Services) so no additional costs were incurred.  The software development for KnowledgeShare has been completed in January 2022.  This means that all the Surrey LKS can work together to share the Surrey Heartlands searches.

This article is one of a series of articles about this bid which highlight the benefits of all the Surrey LKS working together to deliver joined up library services for community-based staff in Surrey Heartlands.  Figure 1 is an infographic that highlights the key outcomes of the nine month project.

Figure 1.  Infographic depicting the key outcomes of the Surrey Heartlands Place Based LKS Project.

Hand-drawn illustrations by Deborah Gouveia, Senior Quality Improvement Advisor and QI Programme Lead (Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust). Infographic produced by Laura Phillips, Senior Library Assistant (Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust)

Concluding thoughts

As a result of the initial funding and the project, we were able to showcase a myriad of LKS skills from evidence searches, cataloguing and classification via and Technology Enhanced Learning.

Kerry Seelhoff was upgraded from a Band 5 to Band 6.  Comprehensive evidence was compiled for the job matching process during the project. 

Various team members were invited to be part of Surrey Heartlands ICS meetings including the Surrey Downs Integrated Care Partnership People's Group - Sub Committee.

The outcomes of this project enabled us to successfully bid for the HEE-funded Surrey Training Hub Knowledge and Library Service 24 month post, and to contribute to the successful bid with the other South West London Health Libraries, for the HEE-funded South West London Training Hub Knowledge and Library Service 24 month post.

If you would like to know more or have any questions please get in touch with Potenza Atiogbe ([email protected])


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