NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR CLINICAL EXCELLENCE
and UNIVERSITY OF YORK
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SCIENCES & CLINICAL EVALUATION
INFORMATION SPECIALIST and
VISITING FELLOW IN HEALTH INFORMATION
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence has entered into an
academic partnership with the Department of Health Sciences & Clinical
Evaluation at the University of York to facilitate and support two
appointments to its appraisal team -- an information specialist and a
health services researcher.
The information specialist will contribute to the National Institute's
appraisal programmes to evaluate the clinical and cost effectiveness of
health technologies, in particular by providing expertise in exploiting
health information and information technology. In addition he or she
will contribute to the research and teaching of the Department. The
post holder will devote 80% of his or her time to the National Institute
and 20% to the Department. Salary within the range £25,000 to £32,000.
Applicants should have a graduate or postgraduate qualification or
equivalent experience in library or information science and extensive
experience of searching literature, in particular online databases.
Familiarity with the resources to support evidence based health care and
clinical effectiveness is essential. Experience in computing is highly
Further particulars from Philippa Younas (email
[log in to unmask], fax 0207-849-3127, phone 0207-849-3444).
To discuss this post informally contact Dr Rod Taylor, Head of Appraisal
at the National Institute, on 0171-849-3444 or Professor Ian Russell,
Head of Department of Health Sciences, on 01904-434501. CV and letter
of application to Dr Rod Taylor at National Institute for Clinical
Excellence, 90 Long Acre, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9RZ by 0900 on 6
December. Interviews on the afternoon of Friday 17 December.
Nature of appointment
The National Institute of Clinical Excellence ('the Institute') has
entered into an academic partnership with the Department of Health
Sciences & Clinical Evaluation at the University of York ('the
Department') to facilitate and support two appointments to its appraisal
team - an information specialist and a health services researcher.
The post of Information Specialist is available from 1 January 2000,
initially for three years and potentially by secondment. It will be
extended if the performance of the post holder up to that time is
satisfactory to both the Institute and the Department. The post holder
will devote 80% of his or her working time to work at the Institute and
20% to the role of Visiting Fellow in Health Information within the
Department. The Institute will hold the contract of employment and
define the terms of service. Both will accord with the normal practice
of the NHS. Salary will be within the range £25,000 to £32,000
(corresponding to University Lecturer B scale).
As a member of the Institute the post holder will be responsible to the
Head of Appraisal and accountable to the Medical Director. Performance
review will follow the Institute's procedures and accord with the normal
practice of the NHS. As a member of the Department the post holder will
be responsible and accountable to Professor Ian Russell, the current
Head of Department. Staff development and appraisal will follow
Departmental procedures and accord with the normal practice of the
National Institute of Clinical Excellence
The Institute is a Special Health Authority, which was brought into
being on 1 April 1999. Its structure includes a Board with Executive
and Non-Executive Members. The Institute plans an establishment of some
22 whole-time equivalent staff. Working with the National Health
Service (NHS) the Institute will systematically appraise health
interventions. It will offer clear guidance on which treatments work
best for patients and which do not. This guidance will support all
those in the NHS who make or put into effect the complex decisions about
the treatment of individual patients -- including doctors, managers,
nurses and other health professionals. Guidance will also be made
available to patients and the public.
In particular the Institute will provide guidance to the NHS on the use
of selected new and established health technologies. The Institute's
functions in this context are set out in the Secretary of State's
Directions: "to appraise the clinical benefits and the costs of those
interventions notified by the Secretary of State and to make
recommendations". In response to formal requests from the Department of
Health (DH) and the Welsh Assembly the Institute will undertake
appraisals of new and established technologies, including
pharmaceuticals, medical devices and procedures, diagnostic techniques
and health promotion. These appraisals will encompass clinical
effectiveness, cost effectiveness and the wider implications for the
The Institute will assess evidence about clinical benefits in the
broadest sense. These will include effects on quality of life (e.g.
relief of pain and disability) as well as likely effects on mortality
and morbidity. The Institute will also estimate the associated costs.
In the light of this evidence the Institute will reach a judgement
whether, on balance, to recommend the intervention as a cost-effective
use of NHS resources in general, for specific indications, or for
defined subgroups of patients. Where there is already an intervention
for the condition under review, the Institute will estimate the net
effect of the new intervention on both benefits and costs.
Appraisal will comprise two stages. First the available evidence
(including published scientific literature and evidence submitted by the
manufacturers or sponsors of the technology) will be evaluated. This
will be carried out either by the Institute's appraisal team or on its
behalf by a designated external academic group commissioned via the NHS
R&D Health Technology Assessment Programme. Secondly the appraisal team
will derive from this evaluation a provisional advice document. The
Institute's Appraisal Committee will then advise accordingly on the
suitability of the technology for use within the NHS.
Thus, to achieve its aims, the Institute requires an appraisal team with
a breadth of knowledge and experience of both primary and secondary
health services research. The skills needed include biostatistics,
health economics, information science and systematic reviewing. Dr Rod
Taylor, a biostatistician, has recently been appointed as co-ordinator
and head of the appraisal team.
University of York
The University of York, founded in 1963, has an attractive campus on the
outskirts of the city but within easy reach of the historic centre. It
has 7000 undergraduate and 2000 postgraduate students. There are plans
for steady growth over the next few years. It is a strongly
research-oriented institution, with almost all departments rated at 4 or
above in the 1996 HEFCE Research Assessment.
The University created the Department of Health Sciences and Clinical
Evaluation in October 1994 to complement the existing health-oriented
activities in the Departments of Psychology, Economics and Social Policy
& Social Work, all three of which were rated at 5 or above in the 1996
HEFC Research Assessment. The University also gave the Department a
remit to extend the health services research then undertaken within four
research units -- the National Health Service Centre for Reviews and
Dissemination, the Centre for Health Economics, the York Health
Economics Consortium, and the Social Policy Research Unit. With the
first three of these the Department achieved a grade of 4 in the 1996
Although the long-term goals of the Department encompass health as much
as health care, the medium-term objectives for both teaching and
research focus on the National Health Service, whose Research and
Development (R&D) Programme dates only from 1991. The Department
believes that the substantial potential of the NHS R&D Programme can be
exploited only by close adherence to three basic principles - scientific
rigour, practical relevance and inter-disciplinary collaboration. To
these ends the first five academic appointments comprise two
biostatisticians, two health psychologists and one health economist.
Twenty-three researchers hold paid appointments in the Department.
Seven of these are health professionals. The rest contribute skills in
health economics, health information, health psychology, statistics,
systematic reviews, and trial co-ordination. The Departmental Secretary
and three research secretaries complete the staff.
The Department occupies the Donald Irvine Wing of Alcuin College,
converted in 1996 to meet its current administrative, research and
teaching needs. Since October 1995 the Graduate School in Health
Sciences has offered three inter-disciplinary research degrees -- MSc
(one year full time or two part time), MPhil (two years full time or
four part time) and DPhil (three years full time or six part time).
These are designed for students wishing to follow careers that enhance
or use the evidence base for health and health care. Following a
successful bid to HEFCE led by the Department on behalf of the
University, undergraduate teaching began in October 1998 with a
full-time BSc in Health Sciences. This course aims to provide students
with the academic foundations required to conduct and use research into
health and health care by covering material from five 'health sciences'
-- economics, epidemiology, health care, psychology and statistics.
The Department enjoys close links with the National Health Service
Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (NHS CRD), in particular with its
Information Service. Under the leadership of the Information Manager
Julie Glanville, the Information Service provides technical and clerical
support, both to NHS CRD staff and to external organisations within the
NHS and beyond (including the Institute and the National Co-ordinating
Centre for Health Technology Assessment). Six information specialists
and two support staff underpin the production of systematic reviews and
evidence-based guidance by conducting literature searches, finding data
and organising document supply. Their external role also includes
production of the NHS CRD web site, development and maintenance of
access to the free NHS CRD databases, and provision of an enquiry
service on clinical effectiveness and economic evaluations. Information
Service staff also contribute to information-related training and
research. Training focuses on searching the Cochrane Library
effectively, exploiting other clinical effectiveness resources, and
supporting the process of systematic reviewing. Research focuses on
access to information and the design of search strategies.
Duties and responsibilities
1 To contribute to the Institute's programme to evaluate the clinical
and cost effectiveness of health technologies by providing technical
expertise in the effective and timely exploitation of health information
and information technology, and assisting in all stages of systematic
reviews from scoping the available evidence to final quality assurance.
2 To develop and manage the information systems that support the work of
the Institute's appraisal team.
3 To work with the Institute's other groups - guidelines & audit and
communication -- to ensure consistency and co-ordination of information
systems, including the Institute's web site.
4 To contribute to the development and validation of the evaluation
methods used by the Institute's appraisal team.
5 To contribute to the research programme of the Institute's appraisal
team into methods of health technology assessment, where appropriate
through personal research.
6 To liaise with related groups within the UK, for example those engaged
in health technology appraisal or national health information
7 To contribute to the research and teaching of the Department through
Professor Ian Russell, in particular by contributing to one or more
research projects, primary or secondary. This appointment is intended,
not only to benefit the University of York, but also to develop the
technical expertise of the post holder.
8 To work with the Information Service of the NHS Centre for Reviews and
Dissemination through Julie Glanville, in particular by contributing to
one or more systematic reviews. This attachment is intended, not only
to benefit the University of York, but also to develop the technical
expertise of the post holder and the technical capacity of the
Institute's appraisal team.
9 To continue his or her own professional development so as to enhance
both the skills of the post holder and his or her contribution to the
Institute, the Department and the NHS CRD.
10 To pursue all these responsibilities in a collaborative spirit that
contributes to the development and maintenance of effective teamwork
within both the Institute and the University.
1 a graduate or postgraduate qualification or equivalent experience in
library or information science;
2 good skills in, and extensive experience of, literature searching, in
particular online databases;
3 good skills in, and broad experience of, information technology
including word processing, database management, WWW page production,
reference management, data transfer and manipulation, and electronic
4 the ability and motivation to pay attention to detail;
5 the ability to communicate with users and colleagues, both orally and
6 the ability to work constructively and flexibly within
multi-disciplinary teams, including understanding and patience in
assimilating the issues raised by other professions; and
7 the motivation and self-management skills to work without supervision,
often under pressure.
8 experience of working in a library, especially a health or social
sciences research library;
9 familiarity with the resources to support evidence based health care
and clinical effectiveness;
10 experience of systematic literature reviews and primary research;
11 experience of searching MEDLINE and other health databases;
12 knowledge of reference management software such as Endnote;
13 experience of primary research; and
14 good skills in, and broad experience of, formal presentation.
1 The University of York does not permit smoking within research or
2 For an informal discussion of this post please contact either of the
Rod Taylor Ian Russell
Head of Appraisal Head of Department of Health Sciences
National Institute for Clinical Excellence University of York
Email: [log in to unmask] [log in to unmask]
Facsimile: 0171-849-3127 01904-434503
Telephone: 0171-849-3444 01904-434501