We support healthcare librarians' role in training others to use information resources, and in supporting evidence-based clinical practice and life-long learning ('Read between the lines', page 33, 9 August).
But librarians may not have the expertise to undertake a clinical role by advising clinicians on managing patients.
The article cites how a literature search identified a potential drug interaction between aspirin and a herbal remedy. The UK Medicines Information service (UKMI) is a well-established source of advice for all healthcare professionals in primary and secondary care on any aspect of drug therapy. The particular skill of the pharmacists who provide this service from over 260 centres is their ability to link provision of information with clinical interpretation. Our advice is based on a critical assessment of the evidence coupled with clinical experience.
Information provision should be part of a team effort. As medicines information pharmacists, we value healthcare librarians' support and the partnerships between the two services in many hospitals. But medicines management requires specialist input from those with a comprehensive understanding of therapeutics and of the pharmaceutical, behavioural and economic issues involved.
Our recent national strategy for UKMI, approved by the four home countries' health departments, recommends that liaison between medicines information and library services should be strengthened.
Dr Simon Wills Head of Wessex drug and medicines information centre Southampton General Hospital, Anne Lee Principal pharmacist Area medicines information centre Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Peter Golightly Director of Trent medicines information service Leicester Royal Infirmary, Margaret Hewetson Director of South Thames medicines information service Guy's Hospital, London