A Million Decisions campaign to bring the evidence to healthcare clinicians and commissioners

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A new campaign will remind health service leaders in England of their responsibility to ensure evidence-based practice under the Health and Social Care Act1. It highlights the beneficial outcomes when healthcare services are planned and delivered with input from dedicated health librarians and knowledge services.

Launching on 30 January, ‘A Million Decisions’ is jointly led by CILIP, the library and information association, and Health Education England (HEE), who work together to support decision-makers and those delivering health services to make good use of library and knowledge skills to meet their obligations under the Act. 

Professor Ian Cumming OBE, Chief Executive, HEE said: “Every day across the healthcare sector more than a million decisions are made which have a profound impact on people’s lives and which influence the quality and cost of healthcare services.  The Government and health organisations have obligations under the Health and Social Care Act to ensure the use of evidence from research and to make use of the best available evidence in their decision-making.”

Nick Poole, CILIP Chief Executive said: “We encourage anyone responsible for healthcare services to take a look at the astonishing impact on the cost and quality of care when healthcare teams have good access to the specialist expertise of clinical librarians and knowledge specialists.

To those leading healthcare services, it’s a call to ensure that your part of the NHS or sector is meeting its duties under the Act, and where there are gaps, to work with CILIP and HEE to put arrangements in place so that your organisation and staff are able to access the evidence to inform their practice and decision-making.”

Health librarians within the NHS and wider healthcare sector can be called on to supply specialist knowledge to all members of multidisciplinary teams including doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, managers and learners to support daily practice and decision making. Evidence of impact collected for the campaign shows how working alongside a specialist librarian delivers a wide range of beneficial outcomes, including freeing up time for clinicians and managers, reducing admission times, transforming care for long-term conditions and significantly reducing costs and inefficiencies.

The campaign references the duty on the Secretary of State for Health to ensure ‘the use in the health service of evidence obtained from research’ and the responsibility on Clinical Commissioning Groups and healthcare providers to make use of the best available evidence in their decision-making. 1 Arms length bodies, those commissioning or influencing healthcare services, including those reshaping and improving health services, have a responsibility to promote, monitor and take assurance of the use of evidence-based decision making.



Press contact

Cat Cooper, Campaigns and Communications Manager, CILIP
020 7255 0653
07867 455070

Notes for editors

  1. CILIP,  the library and information association is the leading voice for the information, knowledge management and library profession. Our goal is to put information and library skills and professional values at the heart of a democratic, equal and prosperous society. CILIP is a registered charity, no. 313014. cilip.org.uk
  2. Health Education England  Health Education England (HEE) exists for one reason only: to support the delivery of excellent healthcare and health improvement to the patients and public of England by ensuring that the workforce of today and tomorrow has the right numbers, skills, values and behaviours, at the right time and in the right place. https://hee.nhs.uk/
  3. NHS Library and Knowledge Services in England Policy (HEE) The policy sets out for the first time HEE’s approach to delivering on the key objective of enabling access to knowledge and evidence for healthcare decision-makers. https://hee.nhs.uk/our-work/re...

Additional Quotes

“I sincerely believe that the NHS can be a better organisation when library and knowledge support is harnessed in the right way.  We’ve experienced some amazing moments at Wirral where this has been the case.  Risk has been avoided by providing evidence that prevented a surgical procedure for a particular patient to take place.  Service redesign has been informed by best practice and learning from others who have done it before. Knowledge that we’ve brokered has been used to write business cases, develop clinical guidelines and inform decisions about individual patients. We’re working really hard to embed library and knowledge services in the organisation so that everyone who needs it has access to our unique skills as library and knowledge service professionals.” 

Victoria Treadway, Library & Knowledge Service Lead, Wirral University Teaching Hospital

As a Critical Care consultant, I need to make very quick decisions about the most seriously ill patients in the hospital; having a librarian working in my team helps me to ensure that any knowledge-related risk is avoided.  The Library & Knowledge Service has supported me on ward rounds, which is particularly helpful when we have any gaps in knowledge around a particular condition or treatment.  I recall one particular incident when we adjusted our treatment of a patient with a life-threatening skin condition as a direct result of evidence that Victoria found for us.  Victoria also takes a role in disseminating knowledge across the department so that we can develop a culture of learning and improvement. 

I have worked for long enough with Victoria to realise that it benefits me and my team to have a librarian as a wingman on anything that I work on, and I recognise the huge potential that this group of professionals has to contribute to the wider NHS, should we harness their skills in the right way.”

Dr Girendra Sadera, Clinical Director Theatres & Anaesthesia, Consultant Critical Care & Anaesthesia, Wirral University Teaching Hospital

"Putting timely knowledge into the hands of healthcare professionals working across care settings is vitally important for making clinical decisions that are based on sound evidence. With unprecedented time pressures on health professionals, embedded health librarians and knowledge services to support them in clinical and community settings are a vital resource.”

Professor Wendy Reid. Director of Education and Quality, Medical Director HEE

All healthcare students and trainees should have access to the best available evidence to ensure they do their very best to care safely and effectively for those that put their lives in their hands. Our excellent library and knowledge services, easily accessible and available, underpins the training that nurses undertake and supports them through their revalidation.”
Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, Director of Nursing and National Deputy Director of Education and Quality, Health Education England

The development of increasingly effective Primary Healthcare services is pivotal to the population's future health and wellbeing. Primary Healthcare requires support from agile knowledge services, led by healthcare librarians, that both understand and are truly responsive to its needs. They will need to supply knowledge to inform planning and delivery of improvements within Primary Healthcare that results in better value for individuals and communities alike."
Dr Johnny Marshall, OBE, Westongrove Partnership


1. Health and Social Care Act 2012 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/...