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Cilip Manifesto and Public Health

In CILIP on March 23, 2010 by Danielle Tagged: , , , ,

I noticed that there have been a number of #cilipmanifesto tweets in the last few days and that Council Matters (the Cilip council blog) has blogged about the Manifesto.

What impressed me the most, naturally, was the inclusion of a public health goal (often health seems to be treated like the freak in the attic of the library and information world):

“Fund and enable the effective co-ordination of health information so that everyone who needs it – patients, carers, doctors, nurses, planners – will be able to find the necessary information to meet their needs.”

On the supporting paper for this goal, I was pleased to see Public Health Librarians at the top of a stakeholders list that included third sector organisations that often provide information on specific health conditions (think BHF Heart Helpline for heart disease and Marie Curie Cancer Care).

The benefits of providing public health information effectively are given in the paper as:

  1. A high quality national public health and wellbeing information service available to all and not subject to a postcode lottery (Comment: Will this mean modifying existing services such as NHS Choices or Patient UK to be a better fit?)
  2. A focus on providing public health and wellbeing information to the “have-nots” and addressing the health inequalities identified in the Wanless report
  3. Making a reality of “informed choice”, personalisation and “working together” to allow individuals greater opportunity to manage their own health and well-being  (Comment: This seems very ambitious- even if we can educate everybody about lifestyle factors and disease, not everybody will care about informed choices and personalisation. Good if we can aspire to this, though!)
  4. Addressing the public health and wellbeing information requirements of children and young people
  5. Building an evidence-base of best practice in public health information (Comment: Will we look to the Cochrane Collaboration for this or a layperson’s version of the National Library for Public Health?)
  6. Upskilling library and information staff in all sectors to improve the service provided to all types of user and the job satisfaction of the staff concerned (Comment: Here, here! Why can’t we all have epidemiological training so we can actually translate abstracts on the fly to deliver or disseminate unadulterated health information to people who request it? )

I think this is actually a wonderful start for an initiative that is at the ‘seedling’ stage of development. I will be interested in seeing how the manifesto will be received by the government and parliamentary candidates to which it was sent.

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