Headlines: November 24th, 2003

The record-breaking level of use of the National Health Service e-Library seems certain to rise even further with the start today of the library’s second annual awareness week. The event coincides with the library’s third anniversary.Latest figures show a record number of people are finding help in making decisions about healthcare by consulting the e-library. Visits to the site rose by more than a third in October, reaching more than 200,000 compared with 150,000 in September.

The site is aimed primarily at healthcare professionals to support knowledge-based decision making, but the site also provides patients and the public with access to the same information that is available to their doctors and carers.

Throughout awareness week, NeLH is offering free on the spot training via ten-minute phone-in learning sessions, to give health professionals a ‘quick-start’ and help them get the most out of the site’s extensive information resources which include the Cochrane Library, the British Medical Journal’s clinical evidence, and specialist libraries. As well as leading telephone tours, local trainers and representatives will be organising over a hundred events across the country including drop in sessions, open days and local face to face training all aimed at helping NHS staff in using libraries to best effect.

Organisers of this week’s events say that with two million consultations taking place each day in the NHS, each one involving at least one decision – and sometimes many more – the need for easy access to knowledge to help decision making for professionals and patients has never been more important. The National electronic Library for Health is at: www.nelh.nhs.uk