Patient information study day feedback

Both testimonials were taken from the Taunton event of 23 January 2017.

"I spent an informative day with colleagues from across the region (and beyond!) learning more about the ways in which we in health libraries can support the provision of quality patient information. We had an update on the work of the Knowledge for Healthcare PPI Task and Finish Group, who have been working hard to develop resources and strategies which we can all use to facilitate our work in this area.

An ideas bank has been developed to show what is already being done, and to provide resources, case studies and information which colleagues can draw upon for inspiration, and use in their own settings. It is available now on the Knowledge for Healthcare website, within the Patient and Public Information section, along with lots of useful background information Sarah Greening has also developed a cross-sector contacts database of people interested in PPI, which may prove a useful starting point if you are thinking of working with new organisations. Carol-Ann Regan also emphasised that the role of NHS Choices should not be underestimated, particularly with significant improvements planned in the not too distant future!

We spent the morning working in small groups to look at a range of PPI tasks and initiatives, organising them in order of usefulness for patients and ease of implementation. It was amazing to see how much consensus there was regarding which activities might be straightforward to implement and be most beneficial to patients, and should therefore offer many of us some quick wins. However, it also became clear that different trusts had very different working relationships between communications teams, PALS and the library teams, which will significantly impact on the ease with which some of these ‘quick wins’ might be achieved.

Jill Scott (Registered Dietitian and Learning and Development Manager for Bristol, Bath and Somerset, and Gloucester Next Steps Project, Macmillan Cancer Support) gave an interesting presentation about the challenges of communicating directly with the public and patients, highlighting the differences between providing information and giving advice. Jill emphasised the importance of managing expectations, particularly with regard to the role of the Information Professional – we are able to signpost people to high quality resources but we are not able to give clinical advice or offer opinions regarding conditions or treatments.

We had a visit from Colin Bray from Libraries Unlimited who are now responsible for running public libraries in Devon. It was good to hear how keen Devon public libraries are to play a role in supporting patient information needs, and the resources they already have in place to do so. Colin told us that all Devon Libraries have access to Books on Prescription, and seemed keen to build relationships with the health libraries network.

There was a reminder from Task and Finish Group reps that Health Information Week provides us all with an opportunity to put some of these ideas into practice, and I look forward to hearing more about everybody’s plans as we head through spring! Holly Case also reminded us that there are many examples and great resources already on the ideas bank!!

Caroline de Brun gave us some useful information about health literacy, and the challenges of navigating the Internet for health information. Medical terminology can vary significantly even between English Language speaking nations, presenting new challenges for those trying to find the best quality information. Caroline shared a wide range of useful resources, including Patient Information Forum, LIS-infoliteracy, and the National Elf Service, all of which can support us in our PPI quest.

Finally colleagues from around the region bravely shared examples of how they have been putting PPI into practice. From running reading groups, to working with public libraries to organise health events, to updating patient information leaflets - a wide range of ideas are already being put into practice. Importantly we learnt that not every idea is always a success – but you can always learn from them!

Being new to the NHS, I found that this session helped me to build up a clearer picture of the variety of roles that information professionals are fulfilling within the organisation, and the levels of support that are available to us within the region. It was fantastic to meet some of you, and find out what you are up to. Top banana! "

- Charlotte Greaves, Library Assistant, Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust (EXE)

"I’d like to begin by thanking Carol-Ann, Holly, Sarah, and the speakers for putting on such an engaging and informative workshop. Even though I sit on the task and finish group responsible for this workshop I was encouraged to attend and I’m so glad I did. Not only did I get to reconnect with librarians from around the region, many I hadn’t seen for a while and I had the pleasure of meeting the chair of this group, Holly Case (Surrey & Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust) and Sarah Greening (HEE).

First, I must say that it was made perfectly clear that as librarians we had the choice of supporting PPI directly or indirectly. This made many in the room instantly feel more comfortable including myself as we had envisaged opening our libraries up to the public like opening the flood gates!

The day was broken up with an activity to discuss the ideas bank of suggestions for use in our own libraries. We discussed how easy they would be to implement and how valuable they would be to the public and patients. The first thing I noticed was that there were many quick wins on the very long list. I selected two to make a start on as soon as I returned to the office. I chose ‘to promote the library resources to our PALS/Patient information lead’ and ‘help clinical staff access patient information’.

I was shocked to see that the BRI is one of few libraries who don’t directly do anything for the patient/public. This is something I want to address as soon as possible. As well as the speakers, I particularly enjoyed the regional examples of PPI involvement. It was great to see one library thinking outside the box by using targeted Facebook Ads to promote an event. This was something I’d only heard about from the business sector.

Finally, we were asked to jot our 2 ideas down on a postcard which would be presented to us at the Swindon meeting. The idea was that we would discuss progress so far. It was great to see so many library managers from the region attending the event who were enthusiastic about PPI. I look forward to Swindon to see how everyone has developed their PPI provision."

- Helen Pullen, Outreach Librarian, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust (BRI)