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Partnership for Patients

See our Publications Page for Reports on this Project.

There are many Barriers to Informed Choice especially for socially excluded groups or those without IT skills. Partnership for Patients seeks to tackle some of these barriers.

- Our Taking Soundings Report suggested libraries might support Patient Choice.
- Patients told us they needed information and support to understand it.
- Libraries deal with over 58 million enquiries a year on all sorts of topics.
- The People's Network in libraries offers 30,000 broadband computers.

Library staff can find information for patients on the People's Network, support them to understand it and even book their appointment for them if they wish.

Click here for flowchart of pilot process

Partnership for Patients will test out a role for libraries in helping patients in Choice, through 3 libraries in each of 10 pilot authorities. Click here for list of pilot sites


Barriers to Informed Choice



Lack of information
Content: Patients need accurate, relevant, up to date information to help them compare the hospitals on what matters to them, including cleanliness, infection control, as well as how to get there

Media: Printed resources are costly and soon out of date. Web publication is more cost effective. On the www.nhs.uk site, NHS Trusts can enter data and have it validated and available immediately.

Cost: In a cash strapped NHS, online publication is the most economical way to offer information, supplemented by printed material, making Choice a reality with fast, cheap updating on the web.


Lack of support
Support with Information: Librarians give the public information and support as part of their 'day' job, including supporting those with specific needs, such as disabled people.

Moving from Written to Online: Their role is expanding from supporting people with written material, to supporting them with online material, with the People's Network.

Agents for Choice: Libraries can be centres of citizenship - agents for choice in public services. Some libraries already help tenants choose a council property or a school online.



The Digital Divide
Choice Inequalities: without careful planning, there is a risk of choice inequalities, matching and aggravating health inequalities for those without IT skills or money to own a computer

The internet as the 'printing press': You do not need to know how to work a printing press to read a book. You should not need to know how to work a computer to get at online information.

Librarian support: Through the People's Network, librarians can find information online for patients, print it and give it to them - reducing choice inequalities and crossing the digital divide at a stroke.



Pilot Library Authorities


10 Pilot Library Authorities are piloting the Library Choice Process.
Each has its own dedicated portal provided by the Department of Health.
A single access point to local information for local Patient Choice, translated into 12 languages.

Bromley: Orpington, Chislehurst, West Wickham
Derbyshire: Bolsover, Bakewell, Hayfield and Mobile libraries.
Gloucestershire Coleford (Forest Of Dean), Dursley, Tewkesbury.
Greenwich: Plumstead, West Greenwich, New Eltham
Hackney: Shoreditch, Stamford Hill, Hackney Central
Haringey: Wood Green Central, Marcus Garvey, St. Annís
Newham: Canning Town, The Gate; Plaistow
Southwark: Dulwich, Peckham, John Harvey
Suffolk: Clare; Haverhill, Bury St. Edmunds
Waltham Forest: Walthamstow, Lea Bridge, North Chingford

With support from a buddy network of Health Libraries:
Bromley Hospitals NHS Trust; Chesterfield Royal NHS Foundation Trust; Gloucester Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Queen Elizabeth Hospital NHS Trust (Greenwich); Homerton Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; North Middlesex Hospital NHS Trust; Newham University NHS Trust; Guy's and St. Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust; West Suffolk Hospital NHS Trust; Whipps Cross University Hospital NHS Trust.

Independently evaluated by Loughborough University.
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