Fiona Caldicott to lead review into sharing of health information

Government says independent review will focus on the balance between protecting patients’ health and social care information and sharing to improve patient care


Fiona Caldicott will lead the review into the sharing of patients’ health information.

Dame Fiona Caldicott will lead the government’s review into confidentiality and the sharing of health and social care information, the Department of Health has announced.

The review will look at the balance between protecting patients’ confidential information against the need for sharing to improve patient care. The review comes on the back of the NHS Future Forum’s recommendation in January for a review.

Caldicott is known across the health service as the originator of “Caldicott guardians” – those responsible in every NHS and local authority organisation for making decisions about sharing identifiable information.

She will call on an expert panel made up of clinical, social care, research and other healthcare professionals, as well as patients and service users. The panel will determine the priorities for the review.

The DH said the review will be independent of the government and will report to health secretary Andrew Lansley. The government said it would respond to the panel’s recommendations when findings from the review are published later this year.

Commenting on her appointment, Caldicott said: “It is timely to reconsider the principles of information protection and sharing. Since the original working group’s report on the security of patients’ information in 1997, it has become clear that there is sometimes a lack of understanding about the rules and this can act as a barrier to exchanging information that would benefit the patient.

“On other occasions, this has resulted in too much information being disclosed. These are issues of importance to everyone who uses health or social care services and our review will look across both sectors. We need to examine when and how to seek and record consent, to support the flow of information to enhance patient and citizen care.”

Lansley said that information needed to be shared to provide the best care and to promote excellent research. He said it was “central to the government’s vision for the new health and care system”, as was protecting confidential information.

“This is a complex issue and I am most grateful that Dame Fiona has accepted the challenge – I can think of no better person to complete the review,” he said.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available