Working with the Patient Experience (PE) team was an opportunity for the LKS to better support this team and also a continuing professional development opportunity for me to explore new ways of working. I worked with my PE colleagues for 2 days a week in October 2022 for an initial 3-month period which was then extended to end in September 2023. The PE team works with staff across the Trust, bringing together a variety of feedback from patients, relatives and carers; staff can then utilise this feedback to improve services. The team also manage the Trust volunteers.

The project: what the LKS did

Previously, the LKS was only involved with the polices by completing an evidence search then a basic reference check at the end of the approval process. I was allocated the task of updating the Management of Volunteers Policy. This involved completing an evidence search then cross checking and linking the content with any referenced documents rather than a straightforward checking of the references. Barry said that “we have had every policy brought over the line ahead of schedule, so we are really, really pleased and proud” and “that’s what the library service has done and that's what your knowledge, skills and experiences has brought to our group.” As a result, Barry now tells the Trust Care Group colleagues to “to contact you and your colleagues and your [LKS] service to help with stuff like that because it's just so welcoming to have people like yourself that can just pick up this piece of work and run with it, check it and get it over the line.”

Another document was the new ‘hospital visiting policy’ for the Trust. Barry explained that the process would involve “policy writing development, looking for best practise across other organisations within our patch, but also wider health and care organisations.” The search was also to investigate what other local Trusts had in place before putting together a draft version of the document. The initial draft copy was developed from the Trust website information on patient visiting and various NHS guidance and presented to the working group.

I was initially tasked with adding in information/sentences recommended from staff feedback to the most recent copy of the Trust Patient Experience, Carer involvement and Volunteering Enabling Strategy 2023 – 2027. Barry said that the LKS “got the piece of work over the line” and “used a lot of your skills that you're good at in terms of complete and finishing” and got the document “to a really, really good standard. So, you've contributed to the development of the patient Volunteer care involvement strategy.”

UHMBT Patient experience strategy roadshow listing teams

I then took the strategy on ‘a roadshow’ to show the document to as many Trust departments and staff as possible. Barry stated that this ‘roadshow’ was “the whole purpose of what a good strategy looks like, not just to have a document on a shelf, but actually to get it out there” so that the PE team can “see customers or patient staff comments and feed those comments into the strategy and then take the strategy back out there.” Barry and PE colleagues appreciated that I “just got on and did it with very little effort from us [PE team]” so the “library service should be really proud of that in terms of your [LKS] links that you've already had established with these groups that you were working with” and “we were delighted that you came with a whole audience of people.”

I was also involved in setting up the development design of patient surveys. This involved assisting staff with a set of questions, helping with the structure of the questions, and then pushing surveys out. Once the survey closed, I brought the survey data back, analysed and submitted that survey data back to the department and the PE team with a ‘checkpoint 5’ summary.

The LKS has always supported the Trust patient information leaflets process in terms of undertaking evidence/literature searches. The LKS mapped out the process with the Patient Experience Officer (PEO) and identifying areas where the LKS could better support her. The LKS has been able to do this by including the PEO in the email when the search summary is sent to the service user/requester. The PEO can save the summary and retrieve it quickly during the final approval process. The LKS now includes patient information as a reason to request and evidence/literature search during LKS inductions. The PEO contact email and handbook on the patient information leaflet process are also included in LKS marketing.

The PE team were also able to receive information on the health literacy awareness (HLA) sessions. The LKS had been looking at expanding the HLA sessions out to more staff groups but had reached an impasse on how to roll out these sessions beyond the Foundation Year 1 doctors. PE colleagues put me in contact with other staff involved with managing students on placement or newly recruited staff. I was able to connect with these teams and explain the HLA sessions available that would support the students and new staff in their professional development. As a result, I have presented the HLA and patient information sessions to newly qualified nurses and new international recruits. Student nurses have also approached me to book sessions. Awareness and interest of HLA and attendance number for the sessions has also increased. 

Impact on the LKS

One of the immediate impacts was the increased awareness of the LKS within the PE team; with Barry stating that “you've been increasing our knowledge about what the library service does and can do for us and you brought new ideas to the table.” Another is improved collaborative working with Trust colleagues and them gaining a better view of how the work the LKS does. Barry said, “everything that you've done has been for patients and patient family and carers and I know that you'll take that away in the work that you do and the work that you do with your colleagues in the library service to think about the person and think about the care or think about the family behind every request, every action that you undertake within the library service.” 

Impact of the LKS on Patient Experience

The LKS has “contributed to the patient experience team in in a whole range of different ways.” Barry named a couple of examples in the impact interview. One example he gave was that I’d “contributed to my personal development in terms of having a keen eye to detail seeking support in terms of doing that, those library searches and such like. Doing things to a level of detail so that for me I've reflected on your practice, and I think well actually, I'm going to take a bit of your practise and apply that to myself.” Barry also said that “when you joined the PE team, it was a very newly formed team, and so the whole team in some way or other have developed from and developed their own personal skills from having you in and around because of your experience and expertise within the NHS.” An example of this is questioning and asking why; for instance, asking ‘why is this done a certain way?’ Barry said of him and his team, “we need to ask each other why quite a lot and just really try to understand each other, but understand why things are done that way, why a policy's been written that way – and not always just do it because it's always been done that way.” The PE team appreciated that me [and the LKS] joined their team with “a toolbox of stuff” but “you didn't get all of the tools out” right away. Instead, I “gently showed [PE team] little bits and pieces along the way. And we've gone. We'll have that.”

Another impact and deadlines; working in depth on one policy at a time and taking it to Procedural Documents meant that time was saved and that that time was dedicated to one policy, so the quality of the referenced documents was improved. Barry said, “you were bringing policies and documents through from start to finish” and “you saved a huge amount of time. You brought every document in on time.” As a result, the LKS is getting more widely promoted as a team that can offer support for policy work. Barry now tells his colleagues, that if “you're struggling with policies, procedures, getting them off the ground, speak to the library service.” Barry felt that the work done on both the Trust documents and the strategy that his team had been trained in the process of checking documentation; saying that “because we [PE] were very holistic team, you know, we sort of we don't worry too much about the detail. But what you've done is giving us the confidence to create the time to worry about the detail because the little detail is important.” Having such direct contact with the LKS 2 set days a week what help was provided “saved an awful lot of time for the personal experience team” and “once we'd set you up on the direction and explained what we were looking for, you would be able to get on with it. So, you save management time, you save team time and then you brought the product back in on time.”

PE have been able to identify individual’s skills and knowledge and they “a whole spectrum of people's knowledge and skills when delivering projects.” Barry stated that they’d “been able to identify what we're looking for, what we need in the team” and “in terms of training, absolutely all of my team need to reach out to the library service in terms of what's available.” LKS involvement has led to increased awareness of the service and the support available; “whether it's the help, the support, the literature search, the referencing,” or the LKS being able to do Harvard referencing; the PE team “all know to come to the library service for support for that.” So they know where to go to get the support and Barry states that “that's credit to yourself because when you've been out and about doing your personal experience days and duties, you've been selling a product as you've gone along.” 

Probable future Impact

There are ways in which the LKS can better support the procedural documents team going forward. This would involve conversations with this team about the support they feel they need. For example, the LKS could look at the evidence/referenced documents and cross checking with the content. Alternatively, the LKS could work with an individual department/team on their procedural documents. Policy documents would then have an improved evidence checking process which can contribute to patient care. The opportunity for the LKS to be continuing to be involved in future 15 steps challenge sessions which will continue this collaborative working and enable the PE team to have an additional viewpoint during these sessions. Barry said that of the LKS that “our partnership doesn't end here. We can still keep coming back to the service to seek support,” and that “you've raised the profile” of the LKS and “now that we know what you and your colleagues can supply, we can continue to sell your product to other colleagues in the NHS.”

Next Steps…

  • Continue to work collaboratively with the Patient Experience Team
  • Look into how the LKS can better support other teams such as the Procedural Documents Team


Kerry Booth

Assistant Librarian Library and Knowledge Services

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust