Background: The National Knowledge Service (NKS) is a National Health Service initiative to make patient and public information available to patients and healthcare professionals. The current study was carried out with a view to determine whether the resources developed by the NKS Tuberculosis Pilot have improved knowledge about tuberculosis among the target group in the short term. Methods: Information resources specifically targeted and developed for homeless sector staff, managers and prison officials were used for this study. Questionnaires were designed to assess a change in the level of knowledge by completing a 'before' and 'after 'questionnaire. A total of 51 participants took part in the evaluation. McNemar's test for matched pairs was used to determine observed change in knowledge. Results: Staff knowledge on symptoms of tuberculosis (TB) increased significantly after reading the targeted information resources. Knowledge gain for symptoms ranged from 17% (P = 0.007) for weight loss to 45% (P = 0.00001) for persistent fever. Knowledge about general guidelines that are available to this target group also improved, as did knowledge about the potential role of staff in supporting directly observed treatment (by 68% P = 0.00001) and the usual length of TB treatment (by 32% P = 0.0001). Pre-existing knowledge about the infectiousness of TB, risks for transmission and the likely period of hospitalization of patients with TB was high. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that purposefully designed and targeted information leaflets can be used successfully to translate complex information into a simple understandable format and impart knowledge of TB.
- Health services