The NHS in England is covered by the CLA Licence (Copyright Licensing Agency) for copying from books and journals by all members of the NHS workforce (this includes primary care, public health staff and students on placement).
Copyright law protects the economic and other interests of copyright holders (authors, creators and publishers) by restricting reproduction and reselling of their works.
Visit the NHS copyright pages on the Copyright Licensing Agency for more information.
Can I make photocopies?
Yes, the CLA Licence allows NHS staff to make a copy of up to two articles from a journal issue or a single chapter from a book, or 5% of the total publication if greater. In addition, it is permissible to copy several articles from a journal issue if on the same theme.
Making a copy to assist NHS services, for private study or publicly funded research is acceptable. Making copies to support activities that you stand to gain from financially (e.g. if a publisher or pharmaceutical company is going to pay you for your research) is not acceptable.
Can I make multiple copies?
Yes, multiple copies and “copies of copies” are allowed.
What about patients and carers?
Only single paper copies may be made for patients and carers.
What about online journals and electronic resources?
If they are subscribed to by the NHS, the answers above apply. Otherwise, only a single article can be supplied, or one chapter or 5% of a book.
What about getting articles from other libraries?
If a member of library staff obtains a copy of an article for you, you will be asked to complete a copyright declaration form to confirm that the article is for private study. If the article is from a source outside the NHS (e.g. the BMA or the British Library Document Supply Centre), we will only be able to supply one article from any one journal issue.
What is not covered by the copyright licence?
The NHS Copyright Licence covers printed and digital books or journals owned by the NHS. Material such as newspapers and maps are covered by fair dealing provisions or supplier licences that are much more restrictive.
Please note that a number of publishers are not covered by the NHS Copyright Licence. A list of all the excluded publications can be checked on the Copyright Licensing Agency website.
If you have any questions, please contact the library
Copyright poster (for display next to all NHS photocopiers and scanners):
- NHS In England Copying Guidelines A4 (281 KB)