Fiona Caldicott

(1941-2021) – Psychiatrist and health policy expert, Principal of Somerville 1996-2010

Educated in London, Fiona Caldicott studied medicine and physiology at St Hilda’s College, Oxford before going on to work as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist. She served as President of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and went on to be the first woman Dean of the Royal College of Psychiatrists before becoming its first woman President in 1993. She was made a Dame of the British Empire (DBE) in 1996, the year she also became Somerville’s tenth Principal. During her time at Somerville Caldicott also served as Pro Vice-Chancellor for Personnel and Equality at Oxford. Known affectionately as ‘Dame Fi’ by Somerville’s students, she placed great importance on ensuring that Somerville was a supportive environment for its members.

After her term as Principal, Caldicott chaired the National Information Governance Board for Health and Social Care, investigating how patient data was used in the NHS. The resulting Caldicott Principles enshrined a lasting means of balancing the information needs of medical research with the rights of patient confidentiality. From 2009 to 2019, Caldicott was Chair of the Oxford University Hospitals NHS trust. She was made an Honorary Fellow of both St Hilda’s and Somerville, and in 2018 was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

You can read a record of condolences shared with Somerville on the occasion of Dame Fiona’s death here.

Did you know? Almost as famous as ‘Dame Fi’ was her beloved feline companion Pogo, who took up his official position as college cat at the same time that his mistress became Principal. At a gaudy in 2018, the mere mention of Pogo’s name prompted a standing ovation.

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