We are a special interest group of the Society for Academic Primary Care who are interested in building the evidence base for Health Literacy. Our approach explores the impact of Health Literacy on people and their lives, and supports national policy to reduce inequalities.
We work together to discuss and develop new research ideas, run research projects, write reports and research papers, and support implementation of research findings into practice. There are also regular face-to-face meetings, discussions of ideas and collaborative work through our website. Membership is free.
We welcome patients and patient groups, health care practitioners and providers, teachers, policy makers, non-government organisations, and academics.
Our Chair (Dr Jo Protheroe) and our Policy Lead (Prof Gill Rowlands) appointed as Honorary Health Literacy Clinical Advisors
Dr Jo Protheroe, GP and Senior Lecturer at the Research Institute for Primary Care and Health Sciences, Keele University, and Prof Gill Rowlands, GP and Professor of General Practice, Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University have been appointed as advocates for Health Literacy for NHS England, a role which aims to help raise the awareness and importance of Health Literacy in England.
Health literacy is ‘The personal characteristics and social resources needed for individuals and communities to access, understand, appraise and use information and services to make decisions about health’.
Studies have shown that at present, health information is written at too complex a level, with 43-61% of the population of adults in England being unable to understand health information that is presented to them. This inability for a patient to understand the information presented to them can have a serious impact on the patient’s life both in general, but for their health and wellbeing in particular.
NHS England recognises the urgency of improving health literacy and have taken a number of short-term actions. This included the appointment of General Practitioners (GPs) to act as Honorary Health Literacy Clinical Advisors, providing clinical insight for policy makers in the Person Centred Care Team and Self-Care Support Programme. As advisors, Jo and Gill will work alongside Clinicians and Clinical Commissioning Groups sharing their clinical expertise and experience to the Health Literacy programmes in NHS England as well as collaborative groups, such as the Health Literacy Collaborative. They will also make use of their professional connections, such as the Royal Colleges, to highlight NHS England initiatives and the importance of Health Literacy practice. They will liaise with the HLCG to identify research priorities to submit to the National Institute of Health Research, in partnership with the RCGP and support the clinical aspects of the Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRCs).
 G. Rowlands, J. Protheroe, J. Winkley, M. Richardson, P. T. Seed, and R. Rudd, "A mismatch between population health literacy and the complexity of health information: an observational study," Br. J. Gen. Pract, vol. 65, pp. e379-e386, 6/2015 2015.
The Health Literacy Curated Collection
The Health Literacy Curated Collection aims to help everyone who has an interest in health literacy, by gathering together all the resources you might need in one place. You will find the resources under five main themes; policy, evaluation, research and key publications, resources and tools. We have included the most important, useful and current resources as considered by our health literacy experts.
Are you working in Health Literacy Research? Do you have practical advice that you would like to share?
The collection came about because the Community Health and Learning Foundation (CHLF) were aware that practitioners with an interest in health literacy often found it hard to track down resources and publications on the topic. As a result, CHLF have long wanted to bring together all of the most useful and relevant information and resources about health literacy together in one place, to make it easy for people to find whatever they are looking for. CHLF have worked with the UK Health Literacy Group to do this and both organisations have been supported by NHS England, who provided support to enable the collection to be developed.
This collection brings together the most current and important policy around health literacy and healthcare in England, the rest of the UK and from around the world.
The Evaluation collection includes reports from a selection of both national and community projects with the improvement of people’s health literacy at their core. These reports look at the “how to” in terms of improving health literacy.
Research and Key Publications
This is the largest of the Collection’s themes and includes the most important research and thinking around health literacy at the moment. The majority of the publications are based on work done and published in England but there are also interesting pieces from elsewhere in the UK and from countries outside of the UK.
This collection includes a number of practical tools that can be used to help with raising awareness of health literacy, measuring people’s ability to understand health information, tools to check the readability and level of information produced and techniques to check that health information is being provided in a way that people with low health literacy levels can understand.
This collection includes a mixture of information, websites, Powerpoint slides, learning materials, surveys, guidelines, best practice and commentary deigned to help anyone wishing to ensure that they are working in a health literate way.