The recommendations of a patient confidentiality report produced by Dame Fiona Caldicott, Principal of Somerville College from 1996 to 2010 and chair of the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, are to be adopted by the UK government, the Oxford Mail has reported.

The Caldicott Review was first published in April 2013, after an independent review into the practice of information-sharing across the health and social care system. It argued that some NHS managers were being “unduly restrictive” in their approach to patient data, due to fear over data protection laws.

The findings of Information? To share or not to share? The information governance review were warmly welcomed by the Health Minister, Jeremy Hunt, whose departmental website announced: “the government accepts all the recommendations of the Caldicott report.”

Dame Fiona has extensive experience in patient confidentiality issues, having chaired a major review on the use of patient-identifiable data in 1996. It was this review which led to the creation of the ‘Caldicott Guardians’, staff who were accorded special oversight responsibilities for the sharing of patient data across the NHS and Social Services.

Dame Fiona told the Oxford Mail: “For too long, people have hidden behind the obscurity of the Data Protection Act or alleged rules of information governance in order to avoid taking decisions that benefit the patient. A rebalancing of sharing and protecting information is urgently needed in the patients’ and service users’ interests.”

In July 2013 Dame Fiona was named as one of 50 inspirational women by the Health Service Journal.

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