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Healthcare library and knowledge services

Healthcare library and knowledge services underpin education, lifelong learning, research and evidence-based practice. Our ambition is to extend this role so that healthcare knowledge services become the integral part of informed decision-making and innovation.

Health Education England published Knowledge for Healthcare, sharing our vision that: NHS bodies, their staff, learners, patients and the public use the right knowledge and evidence, at the right time, in the right place, enabling high quality decision-making, learning, research and innovation to achieve excellent healthcare and health improvement.

This development framework sets out an ambitious vision for provision of Library and Knowledge Services and is a significant transformation programme. 

 For further information contact Sue Lacey Bryant, Senior Advisor, Knowledge for Healthcare or the HEE regional Library and Knowledge Service Leeds (contact details available from this page). 


NHS Library and Knowledge Services in England

Health Education England (HEE) is committed to enabling all NHS staff to have free access to library and knowledge services so that they can use the right knowledge and evidence to achieve high-quality, safe healthcare. Download the Policy Statement to find out more.


#AMillionDecisions campaign

The Library and Knowledge Services, in partnership with CILIP, the library and information association, is campaigning for decisions in the healthcare sector to be fully-evidence-based. Find out more about the #AMillionDecisions campaign. 



Library and Knowledge Services leads

The Library and knowledge services leads work together to:

  • Provide strategic advice and professional leadership to NHS organisations
  • Undertake a range of activities which benefit from economies of scale including commissioning, procuring and managing a suite of electronic knowledge resources accessible to all health and social care staff
  • Uphold standards that minimise inequality of service and demonstrate that NHS library and knowledge services provide value for money through the development and monitoring of the national Library Quality Assurance Framework (LQAF) and the collection and collation of statistical data
  • Provide a targeted range of appropriate professional and personal staff development opportunities, for the Library and Knowledge Services workforce Act as a conduit between local and national NHS programmes
  • Promote innovation in library and knowledge service design and delivery
  • Enable the adoption and spread of good library and knowledge services practice throughout the NHS
  • Engage with non-NHS healthcare libraries via Royal Colleges, independent and third sector organisations, and the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals.


HEE London and the South East

Louise Goswami, Head of Library and Knowledge Services Development

HEE Midlands and the East

Ruth Carlyle, Head of Library and Knowledge Services

HEE North

David Stewart, Director of Health Libraries North

HEE South

Helen Bingham, Head of knowledge Services and Technology Enhanced Learning

You may also wish to discuss with your local Library and Knowledge Service Lead what needs to be done in-house to achieve the Knowledge for Healthcare vision within your own organisation?


Local services

Library and Knowledge Services underpin all aspects of the NHS:

  • Supplying the evidence base to enable excellent healthcare
  • Supporting decision making on treatment options, patient care and safety
  • Informing policy, commissioning, service redesign and pathway development
  • Working with partners to offer health and patient information
  • Enabling lifelong learning and research, and promoting innovation

Watch a video from this page that spotlights library and knowledge services available to staff at Wirral University Teaching Hospital Foundation Trust.

Visit the Health Library & Information Services Directory to look up your local library by area, trust or county

Register for an NHS OpenAthens account to access NHS e-resources, including:

  • Clinical databases such as Medline
  • Full text e-journals
  • Electronic books
  • E-learning for Healthcare

Search for national, regional and local electronic content at NICE Evidence Services www.evidence.nhs.uk and on the Healthcare Databases Advanced Search pages: hdas.nice.org.uk


Find out more about our work

A series of articles about our work have been published in CILIP Update Magazine:

Knowledge for Healthcare, October 2015 

Knowledge for Healthcare, Quality and Impact, November 2015

Knowledge for Healthcare, Workforce Planning and Development, December 2015

Knowledge for Healthcare, Service Transformation, February 2016

Knowledge for Healthcare, Resource Discovery, March 2016

Professional Knowledge and Skills Base (PKSB) for Health, October 2016

The Learning Zone: Diverse skills, diverse learning, November 2016

Knowledge for Healthcare, Knowledge Management Toolkit, February 2017

Empowering health librarians to anticipate and adapt, May 2017

Doing the knowledge: Project group outcomes from the Knowledge for Healthcare Leadership Programme, June 2017

Providing evidence that impacts on patient care, July 2017

These and other resources can be downloaded from the foot of this page.  









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      Our policy

      Healthcare relies on knowledge to be successful. It is not enough to have the right teams with the right skills in the right place, working together to deliver high quality and efficient patient care.