New NHS Scotland 'knowledge bank' launched

Image caption, The new network will help NHS staff share knowledge

An online database that will allow NHS staff to share information has been unveiled by Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon.

The Knowledge Network will include a "Google-style" search engine with access to a huge bank of educational resources as well as personal space for employees to gather information.

The network will be managed by NHS Education for Scotland (NES).

It aims to save staff time and bring online resources together in one place.

The Scottish government said the resource did not include access to patients' records but was designed to support the information needs of the health and social care workforce.

The network website includes community spaces in areas as diverse as psychiatry, bereavement, community care, ethics and general practice.

The Knowledge Network builds on the NHS Scotland e-Library, which was developed in 2003.

NES programme director for knowledge services Dr Ann Wales said: "The new service provides even more comprehensive and user-friendly knowledge support for direct patient care, clinical practice, learning, workforce development and research.

"It now also reaches out to administrative, clerical and support staff as well as to partners in the social care and voluntary sectors."

She added: "It goes beyond the traditional 'library' service of books and journals to support evidence-based practice, the sharing of knowledge and experience, and e-learning."

Launching the Knowledge Network at the annual NHS Scotland conference, Ms Sturgeon said: "We know that a skilled, motivated and committed workforce, with access to the right knowledge, tools and materials is a key component to delivering the highest quality healthcare for the people of Scotland.

"That is why today's announcements on the Knowledge Network is to be welcomed. Not only will it save staff time, it will allow them to access a wealth of information which for the first time will be available online in the same place."

The new network also provides communities, teams, and partner organisations with a suite of technology tools and shared content which they can use to create online knowledge services to meet their own needs.

Examples of websites built using these tools include Health Management Online, the Children's Services Network and Social Services Knowledge Scotland.

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