We are now a team of 4 people. Administrator (Matt Johnson), Knowledge Specialist:Liaison Lead (Rosalind McNally), Knowledge Specialist:Quality (Laura Jeffreys), Knowledge Specialist:Outreach (Stephen Edwards). Stephen started working with the team in December, 2019. Laura Jeffreys went on maternity leave in May this year. So our staffing is currently reduced. When the pandemic started a number of us also volunteered for the essential work created. At the time of writing we are now all back in our usual roles. In the last 12 months we have also had to respond to the changes at PCFT. The Trust no longer includes community services, and took the decision to become a Mental Health & Learning Disability Trust.


Highlights, what has gone well and looking forward

Members of team worked delivering PPE and fitting masks. This probably helped raise our profile, and create connections with staff, for example, 2 literature searches were picked up. Stephen Edwards’s reflections on his role delivering PPE across the Trust featured in a case study produced with Trust Communications about the Internal Staff Transfer Scheme. It also impacted on the capacity of the Knowledge Service. 



Working together & supporting each other to work from home, and maintain as many services as possible. Our activity levels for article requests, literature searches, e-resource activity, and engagement rate on Twitter (for staff who use social media and were working in their normal role), have remained surprisingly stable, allowing for the fact that a lot of our Athens user accounts transferred to other Trusts during the last year. Trust face to face inductions are still suspended, but we have been contacting new starters by email. The only service we suspended was book loans, but we are looking to reinstate this service as more of us return to working some of our time in the office. Initially we had more COVID related searches to carry out. Using the national and northern health library networks through email and the Knowledge For Healthcare Search Bank helped save time and duplication. As we move into the autumn, requests are returning to a more usual balance of patient care, clinical effectiveness, innovation, and CPD.

We have all developed skills in using MS Teams and Zoom. We have started to deliver Medical Education inductions, literature search and Making the Most of Your Athens Account sessions online. The Outreach Librarian has attended a Virtual Study Day on Tele psychiatry for our Medical Trainees. The Liaison Lead attended a Safeguarding Team Development Day, which was a hybrid event with staff attending at a social distance and virtually. Through engagement and responding to national developments with suppliers of e-books (Kortext, VLE Books (replacing DawsonEra), and EBSCO) we hope to improve our offer to staff. To ensure we all took regular breaks at this stressful time, we have covered parts of our roles, to make sure the service is maintained.

We are taking part in a number of innovations looking forward. These are:

  1. Providing training in literature searching, document supply and evaluation of systematic review software (COVIDENCE) for staff completing research degrees. We spent 30 hours literature searching to support a systematic review for a consultant leading a team on secondary research into tele psychiatry. We are currently finalising details of our involvement in a further systematic review.
  2. Pilot site in Greater Manchester to be an “early adopter” for native interface searching.
  3. Working with Research staff to convert from face to face to a virtual version of “Getting Involved in Research”.
  4. Developing a strategy to embed the LKS in the Trust’s delivery of its post-Covid recovery plan, and the NHS People Plan.
  5. And finally, we are greatly looking forward to the implementation of the HEE National Discovery System and the additional opportunities it will afford us to promote services and resources

Blog collated by Rosalind McNally: Knowledge Specialist, Liaison Lead 4th September, 2020