Trust and Wider Health Community

The year has largely been defined by the planning and aftermath of the merger of our LKS’s host Trust, North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust and its partner Cumbria Partnership, together with the moving of mental health services in the north to North Tyne & Wear NHS Trust and in the south to Lancashire Care NHS Trust.  From 3rd October the Trust has had a new name and is now North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Trust.

To ensure continuity of library services for those mental health staff transferring an agreement was reached with the NTW and Lancashire Care LKS. The transfer of mental health services meant our service lost some LDA funding and led to the transfer of a member of library staff along with the transfer and reorganisation of Athens accounts.


Staffing and COVID-19

Prior to the merger of the Trusts and immediately after there was a vacancy freeze and a restructure and consultation of the Learning & Development Department including LKS.  Whilst the consultation and restructure was completed early in 2020, COVID-19 then followed along with changes in the CEO and other Trust’s senior team which has resulted in the implementation being further delayed.

During COVID-19 both libraries at Carlisle and Whitehaven were closed with two staff working remotely covering any email and other requests.  The other library staff were all redeployed and the Head of LKS asked to manage the co-ordination and distribution of donations and gifts from local businesses and the community.    

July 2020 and the library in Carlisle is partially open and library at Whitehaven remains closed while we ensure the service is COVID safe and press for permission to proceed with recruit to vacancies so that we can open and fully resume the service.


Highlights & Improvements to the service this year include:

  • With funding from HEE and Charitable Trust funding the Library and Knowledge Services have developed a new Learning & Improvement Hub within the hospital at the Cumberland Infirmary. This originally started as a Trust ‘Engaging for Improvement’ (E4I) project and was officially opened by the Trust’s Chair in November 2019. The Hub provides training and learning facilities closer to the clinical area, as well as much needed additional space for individuals and group’s personal learning and development.  Prior to the opening the new Director of NHS Improvement looked around the new facility when they visited the Trust in September.



  • Another E4I project involved Library staff working with the Patient Experience and Communications team to develop a standard protocol and procedure’ for producing patient information. All patient information meeting this standard is now published and available on NCIC’s public website as part of a ‘digital first’ approach. The work also involved successfully recommissioning the EIDO library which provides clinicians and their patients with high quality evidence based clinical information to support the informed consent process.  Improving the quality of information given to patients is an enormous undertaking and work continues to promote and embed this service and process.  Project such as this highlight the added value that the Library and Knowledge Services can bring when working with other teams and organisations.


  • The Library at West Cumberland Hospital was refitted during November 2019 as part of renovation work in the Education Centre. The heating system was replaced; it had new flooring and was repainted.  This has made it a much brighter and pleasanter place for staff and learners to work and study.  There are now plans to improve the furniture and study areas with external funding.


Sheila Marsh
Head of Library & Knowledge Services
North Cumbria NHS Library & Knowledge Services
Tel: 01228 602181 / 2
Mobile: 07776 245031
Library website: