National Healthcare Data Guardian Appointed

Nov 14, 2014

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has appointed Dame Fiona Caldicott to a new role as National Data Guardian for health and care.

Caldicott also chairs the Independent Information Governance and Oversight Panel, which was set up to advice, challenge and report on the state of information governance across the English healthcare system.

 As National Data Guardian, Caldicott will become the patients’ champion on security of personal medical information.

According to the government, the extra legislative safeguards will make a significant step forward for safe and confidential information sharing between health and care organisations.

“We need to be as determined to guarantee personal data is protected as we are enthusiastic to reap the benefits of sharing it,” claimed Hunt.

“Dame Fiona will oversee the safe use of people’s personal health and care information and hold organisations to account if there is any cause for concern, ensuring public confidence,” he added.

Whitehall claims Caldicott’s current powers as Chair of the Information Governance Panel will be strengthened by her new appointment.

Able To Report Directly To Regulatory Bodies

She will be able to intervene if she is concerned by how an organisation is sharing data and directly refer this to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to investigate where necessary.

Organisations failing to act on Caldicott’s recommendations will face consequences including fines and the removal of the right to share personal data.

Extraction of data from GP practices under the scheme will also not begin until the new Guardian has advised the Health Secretary that she is satisfied with the proposals and safeguards.

“Everyone should feel confident that their healthcare information is shared safely,” claimed Caldicott.

“As the first National Data Guardian I am committed to holding the health and social care system to account and acting on behalf of patients and care users,” she added.

Dame Fiona is also the Chairman of Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust where she is responsible for the overall conduct of the organisation, managing the board and appointing and reviewing the performance of the chief executive and other executive directors.


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