Spotlight on: Patient Information leaflets

EIDO Healthcare Patient Information leaflets are well-designed hand-outs that are written by experts for your patients, now available in different languages.  The leaflets are available to Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust staff only and are accessed via BSUH intranet.

But how do I create patient information?

Patient leaflets are difficult to write, take ages to create and are lost or forgotten as soon as they’ve been printed out and dumped on someone’s desk, right?


Brighton & Sussex UniverCeciliasity Hospitals NHS Trust is lucky enough to have a Patient Information Librarian, Cecilia Bethencourt-Dunning, who is here exclusively to make sure that patients get the right information at the right time, and in the right way. Your pre-conceived ideas about how hard it is create patient leaflets can be consigned to the (recycling) bin.

If you realise there is a gap in the information that you provide to patients, a patient leaflet could be the answer. But once you have identified that need, where do you start?

To get you going, Cecilia can carry out an initial evidence search to find appropriate resources to form the basis of the leaflet.  Cecilia can also create a first draft with you which can be edited, amended, and built on until the content meets the needs of the patients. The first draft is often the hardest, but once something is down on paper it is much easier to clarify and refine what you wish to say.

All leaflets should adhere to some standards, for example:

  • They must be in question/ answer format
  • They must include a publication and review date
  • They must include contact details

The BUSH Intranet has a sample leaflet with hints and tips.

How do I get my draft leaflet approved?

Once you have a draft you are happy with, it should be emailed to CPIG (Carer and Patient Information Group) at Leaflets are then read through and checked for readability and clarity, making sure there is no jargon and the information is logically ordered, structured and easy to understand. Writing for patients is a challenge for many staff in the Trust as it can be very difficult to imagine yourself as a patient. The CPIG team has now been expanded to include several lay-people and drafts will also go through them for approval.

Amendments are sent back until there is a final draft that everyone is happy with: sometimes, no amendments are really needed and your leaflet is good to go. CPIG logo

All leaflets are then given the CPIG approval logo, with a publication and a two-year expiry date.

How do I ensure my final approved leaflet is being used?

Once completed, the leaflet should be sent to the Clinical Media Centre, who will format it and add the Trust logo. It is then uploaded onto the BSUH website for everyone to use and share. This is an essential part of the process as patient information must be available for all to access, whether this is patients (current or past), their families and carers, or your colleagues in another part of the Trust.

Is it necessary to go through this process for every leaflet?

Yes, it is. We want all information for patients in the Trust to show a mark of assurance and quality, which is what the CPIG logo is. We also need to ensure that the Trust’s logo is used appropriately:  if you are putting it on your patient information, you are giving the message that the Trust endorses what is written in that leaflet, so it needs to be of a high standard. The process doesn’t take a long time, and Cecilia will try to respond as quickly as possible to requests for help. Below is what a Macmillan Neuro-oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist has to say about Cecilia’s support:

“Talk to the Library and knowledge Service. The person to speak to is Cecilia Bethencourt-Dunning. She is really keen to help and provides a brilliant service.

“With your ideas as a start she will do the research for you, write a draft, offer suggestions. It doesn`t matter how basic you think your ideas are she is there to help you produce a professional piece of work. In fact, it is so easy you wonder why you haven’t actually done this before. The “Pink Drink” leaflet was produced in a matter of weeks having gone through several drafts. It is now available throughout the Trust.”

You can contact Cecilia at any time on    Twitter: @BSUH_libraryCBD

Follow this link to see a selection of the rich resources we offer to support Patient Information.