More than 3000 libraries across England are being encouraged to help patients use NHS Choices and Choose and Book to book their hospital appointment.

Last year former health secretary Patricia Hewitt launched a six month library pilot Partnership for Patients which enabled librarians from 30 libraries in 10 areas support people using Choose and Book.

Some of the pilot areas have since extended the scheme across their areas and the project is now being rolled out by strategic health authority.

Electronic toolkits will be sent to PCTs at the end of this week providing support materials for trusts and an NHS toolkit has also been developed for librarians.

A CfH spokesperson told EHI Primary Care: “There are now health IT facilities where librarians have been trained to help people use NHS Choices and Choose and Book in libraries in Waltham Forest and Hackney in London, Derbyshire, Gloucestershire, and in North west SHA, Yorkshire and Humberside SHA and South Central SHA”

An independent evaluation of the pilot project is due to be published by Loughborough University and although the numbers using the service is thought to be low, it is understood this is because the pilot only ran for six months and awareness was slow to build up among GP practices.

The pilots were designed to provide support for patients with a lack of IT skills or access to the internet

A spokesperson for the project told EHI Primary Care: “When people do find out about it it’s a win-win situation for the GP and the patient for many of whom the library is the hub of their community.”

The NHS is working on the roll-out of the scheme with chief librarians through the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.


Partnership for Patients