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Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee

General News

Caldicott IG Review Published

Dame Fiona Caldicott has published her independent review of Information Governance within the NHS in England, "Information: To Share or Not to Share?". Key recommendations in her report include:

  • Individuals should have a right to access their care records without charge. The Department of Health Information Strategy set a target that individuals should be able to gain electronic access to their own care records where they request it, starting with GP records by 2015 and social care records as soon as IT systems allow. The review recommended extending this right of access within the next decade to cover hospital records, community records and personal confidential data held by all organisations within the health and social care system. The review also highlighted the importance of putting in place a clear plan for implementation to ensure that this happens.
  • An audit trail of everyone who has accessed a patient’s personal confidential data should be made available in a suitable form to patients via their health and social care records.
  • For the purposes of direct care, relevant personal confidential data should be shared among the registered and regulated health and social care professionals who have a legitimate relationship with the individual. The health and social care professional regulators must agree upon and publish the conditions under which regulated and registered professionals can rely on implied consent to share personal confidential data for direct care. Where appropriate, this should be done in consultation with the relevant Royal College. This process should be commissioned from the Professional Standards Authority.
  • Organisations should pay closer attention to the appropriate transfer of information when people move across institutional boundaries, such as leaving hospital.
  • Regulatory, professional and educational bodies should ensure that information governance, and especially best practice on appropriate sharing, is a core competency of undergraduate training; and information governance, appropriate sharing, sound record keeping and the importance of data quality are part of continuous professional development and are assessed as part of any professional revalidation process.
  • The Department of Health should recommend that all organisations within the health and social care system which process personal confidential data, including but not limited to local authorities and social care providers as well as telephony and other virtual service providers, appoint a Caldicott Guardian and any information governance leaders required, and assure themselves of their continuous professional development. The report does not exclude the possibility of small organisations sharing Caldicott Guardians or information governance staff to develop expertise and ensure consistency.
  • In order to encourage openness and transparency, every health and social care organisation should publish a description of what personal confidential data it discloses, to whom and for what purpose. This information should already exist within the Data Protection Act privacy notices and data sharing agreements that organisations have produced.

 The report recommends the addition of an additional principle to the 1997 Caldicott Principles - "The duty to share information can be as important as the duty to protect patient confidentiality: Health and social care professionals should have the confidence to share information in the best interests of their patients within the framework set out by these principles. They should be supported by the policies of their employers, regulators and professional bodies".

The Department of Health will make a full response to the review in the summer.

More Information

The Caldicott Review: To Share or Not to Review

PSNC Input into the Review

Posted 30 April 2013

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