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About this service

Who can ask a question?

Anyone can submit a question to the Information and Knowledge Services team. We can help with any queries relating to health and social care, whether you're a health professional, student or just need an answer to a question.

What subjects do you cover?

We answer questions on health and social care management-related issues, such as health inequalities, managing long-term conditions, NHS management, leadership, commissioning, patient and public involvement, BME health, social care, older people and mental health care, workforce development and NHS reforms.

Can you check references for publications?

If you have a publication title and need further details, or have a citation and need the name of the report/book we can help.

We can also carry out literature searches on your behalf and send up to 40 references from our online library database, just let us know the details of the subject you are interested in or the query you need assistance with.

What do I need to provide for a literature search to be carried out?

We just need the subject of the search (including what the information is going to be used for), when it is required by and the period of time you would like us to search, eg, 2006-2009. It would also be useful to provide keywords you think could be relevant to your search and give details of possible geographical coverage, eg, England and Wales.

I'm a student. Can you help me with my dissertation?

We can help by advising which information sources would be suitable to use and how to search them most effectively. We cannot undertake your assignment or essay on your behalf.

Examples of recent questions

  • Information about the Health and Social Care Act 2012
  • Details of Health and Wellbeing boards, including locality and numbers
  • Information on the impact of volunteering in the NHS
  • Information on the make up of boards of leaders in the health service
  • Examples of best practice
  • Resources on implementing integrated care
  • Information on tools or models currently in use within the NHS
  • Information on the structure and funding breakdown of the NHS
  • A&E statistics

Example questions and answers

Statistical information: How many carers are there aged 18-30 in the UK?

The most up-to-date statistic for this is from the NHS Information Centre, published in December 2010. In their survey on carers in households, they have the figure down as 3,100 for the age group 16-24 and 3,900 for 25-34 – unfortunately this is a little beyond the age range, but it should gives some idea of numbers. Source: Table 2.1 in the Survey of Carers in Households 2009/10

NHS funding: An overview of how funding works in general in the NHS and how it works in relation to cancer services

Regarding NHS funding in general, The King's Fund recently published:

Academic pieces tend to be quite specific, around areas such as cancer drugs and learning disabilities, for example. It might be best to browse through the following search ('NHS' and 'funding') from our library database to see what is relevant.

Other publications you might be interested in are:

Transfer of community services: Information on how mental health foundation trusts re-position themselves in the context of community services

Our publication Mental health and the productivity challenge discusses the role mental health trusts can play in supporting the wider health service and also includes a number of relevant case studies. This report was written in conjunction with The Centre for Mental Health. They have since produced a briefing for community groups