Librarian in discussion with a clinician
This patient story may help improve the service

Each NHS Organisation has a different staff structure and different people who are responsible for provision of patient information.

You may need to investigate locally to ascertain where your service can have most impact on patient care. 

The Information Standard (TIS) is a highly regarded set of principles for health and social care information. These principles reflect the best practice in information provision.  


Here are some ideas about how to have an impact on patient information within your organisation:

Be pro-active, engage with other information providers in your Trust

Seek links and offer your services to in-house patient information providers:  

  • Patient Info Centre 
  • PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service)  
  • communications
  • health promotion 
  • website editors 
  • occupational health 
  • play therapists etc.  
  • pharmacists

Explore widening your presence within the trust.

Encourage evidence-base support for information given to the public.

Offer editorial support, literature searching and cataloguing etc.

Support your Trust to meeting the Information Standard principles.

Raise awareness of the Accessible Information Standard; ensure you know your organisation’s policy and where to go for information in different formats. 

Offer work experience

Be open to opportunities for apprenticeships or work placements for people returning to work after mental health issues. 

Revisit previously closed doors

Separate Patient Information Centres may have dwindled. There may be a case for the library to fill this gap in service.

Partnership with other sectors

Health librarians have skills that are highly valued by voluntary sector organisations. Offer editorial support, literature searching, cataloguing, training etc. 

Information prescriptions

Target specific outpatient clinics e.g.: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or Irritable Bowel Symdromw (IBD) with signposting information, support groups etc.

There are examples of information request forms used in outpatient clinics – the information is either sent or given at the next outpatient appointment. 

Self-management support

Liaise with a department (e.g. cardiology) and offer information upon discharge from hospital to aid recovery at home. 

Arrange for support group meetings at local public library or out of hours at the Trust to support patients with long term conditions. 

Providing information for cancer patients on the Survivorship Programme. 

Help local support group with information for their website. 

Patient stories

Assist collation and cataloguing of patient stories to help others 

Promote safe use of internet information

Develop a document of safe internet use for health information.  

Cataloguing of patient information resources

Some departments have their own patient information resources.

Library staff could add these to their catalogue, making them widely available across trusts that share access to the catalogue. 

Patient information leaflet provision

Proof-read, ensure correct formatting, evidence-based and publish to the relevant sites.

Maintaining version control and relevant categories, keywords etc. 

Support services

Departments may benefit from a list of local and/or national support groups/services to give to patients and carers. 

Support awareness campaigns

Have an area where you can promote a relevant topic: 

  • your own book stock
  • support group information
  • patient information leaflets from national or local organisations

Case study 

Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has a rigorous process to produce Patient Information Leaflets.

The library staff collaborate with the Trust’s Policy Co-ordinator to ensure the production of Patient Information Leaflets (PILs) is evidence based and follows a standardised format.

A librarian attends PIL development meeting. 

Evidence underpinning the information is sought in a systematic way and the leaflets are reviewed by a lay reader’s panel. 

They are validated by a clinical team, of which the Clinical Librarian is a member.

The leaflets are produced commercially, following an online template available on the Trust’s intranet. This ensures the leaflets look professional and are therefore more likely to be trusted by patients. 

Page last reviewed: 15 June 2021